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Empowerment in Action

One of the few gifts of COVID has been the utter joy of collaborating, sadly long-distance, with former colleagues from past districts. It’s magic to open my inbox and find a gift of Desmos or a Jamboard or a Pixel art, a gift of friendship transcending distance and the horror of COVID.

The Jamboard here first came from Maureen Connery, a former 6th grade math colleague. (Thanks for sharing!)

I used Maureen’s version and let the kids loose one Friday. When we came together as a full class to share, my colleague told me about how kids had started adding their own sticky notes to the version that Maureen and I had given them.

They added percent problems, negative percent problems, and improper fractions, all unprompted. I made a copy and used the student-created problems to build a new Jamboard to use in the future:

The students had taken it to a new level by adding mixed numbers, percent, and negative percent to the mix. This is what happens when we “Empower students to make choices or suggest alternatives for what they will learn, how they will
learn, and how they will express what they know in authentic ways [and when we f]ree them to self-monitor and reflect on their choices with teacher facilitation and feedback but not explicit direction” by “Optimiz[ing] individual choice and autonomy” (7.1).

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