Is this thing on?

Sometimes I wonder whether it is truly on; or in other words, is anyone listening to what I am saying? If you walk into my classroom, that may or may not be evident, some days more than others, but overall I would hope that my students are listening when I am talking. Do I really want them to though? Shouldn’t I be pushing them to create and explore in their own way? They should only need to listen to me when they are asking for guidance or clarification or maybe some help with finding their path. I think about the way that sounds and it makes me a little uneasy, to say the least. I know I have tried over the last few years to improve on giving up control and letting my students spread their wings, but I still wonder how much freedom can a fifth grader handle? If you asked me this question during the last few weeks, I would probably say ‘very little’.

As my students progress through the school year; I keep wondering if I am selling them short. Could they handle more freedom and be given true ‘authentic learning opportunities’ on a daily basis? I know my students need to make more meaningful connections in my classroom otherwise I am going to lose them. Their motivation will be fueled when they are about to use their new knowledge to connect to what they have already learned (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, & Cummings, 2018). This is where my growth mindset kicks and helps me see that I have to try to see what happens. I know it will be a process and sometimes that is more important than the results. As I continue to reflect on the learning that is going on my classroom, I think about how I can change things to be more authentic. How can I let go and still make sure my students are meeting their goals of understanding the standards they are tested on? That may be the hardest question that I have ever tried to answer. It is not going to happen overnight and I know it might be a slow and painful process, but I am ready for that challenge.

If my students haven’t been listening so far, they will when they see the choices they have to make for their own learning. I plan to continue reflecting on this switch to COVA that I am going to slowly implement. Maybe I will be writing a few weeks from now with amazing results to report? Come back here to find out!



Harapnuik, D., Thibodeaux, T., & Cummings, C. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning. Retrieved from

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