Reflecting on some of the reading I have done over the past week has me really wondering ‘how’? How will I get started with implementing the COVA approach in my classroom? What can I really expect my fifth-graders to accomplish? How do I get my students to take initiative and make choices for their own learning? As you can see I have a lot of questions going through my head right now. I know there are more questions that I want to be answered as well, but I don’t think my brain will allow me to ask them yet since I still am confused on the first few that I just listed. I think what the COVA is and needs to be, and wonder how to start using it in the middle of the school year. My students are so used to the ‘traditional classroom model’ and so am I for that matter. I am willing to make the leap, but I know that it will be a huge challenge to get most of my students to be willing to take the plunge with me.
I find myself getting frustrated on a daily basis on the way my students perform or should I say lack of performing. I know I need to be a motivator for them, but how do you motivate a student that doesn’t want to be motivated? In the past, I have attempted to provide choice to my students in the form of choice menus. As I read more about choice as a part of the COVA approach, I realize that I did not really give them much choice at all (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, Cummings 2018). So what is my first step? I guess I will practice what I preach to my students and just ‘try my best’ and we will see what happens. I mean can it really be worse than continuing down the traditional approach and hindering my students’ opportunities to experience ‘authentic learning opportunities’ (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, Cummings 2018)? I think it is worth the risk, and I recall that being similar to one of the signs I hung up in my house to remind myself how to stay in the growth mindset. It is actually hanging on my bathroom mirror right now.
The introduction of ‘choice’ to my students will make or break this implementation. It is important to allow for autonomy, mastery, and purpose so that it can drive the motivation of my students (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, Cummings 2018). Although as a teacher I can help a student with their process, it is the student that ‘must do the learning’ in the end. Finding true ‘authentic projects’ for my students to show their learning is going to be imperative (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, Cummings 2018). Even after learning so much from the COVA ebook, I still find myself unsure of what it would truly look like in my classroom to unleash my students. So I return to my original question of ‘How’?
Harapnuik, D., Thibodeaux, T., & Cummings, C. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning. Retrieved from https://gallery.mailchimp.com/1bdbac4d4fbdff334a642eb11/files/8b18ae2a-8696-4d58-9b80-192f4cc6624c/COVA_eBook_Jan_2018.02.pdf
Spencer, J. (2016). Spencer quote [Digital Image] Retrieved from https://medium.com/synapse/10-ways-to-incorporate-student-choice-in-your-classroom-e07baa449e55