Agile is a project management methodology used primarily for software development but can be applied to education…and life.
The manifesto is short and sweet.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Both parts are important and valued, but the ideas on the left take precedence over the ideas on the right.
In using agile for software development, the focus is on short phases, frequent reassessment and adaptation if needed.
These principles adapt perfectly to education and the learning process.
We learn math in a series of short phases. We don’t expect students to do complex math problems immediately after learning to count. We take it a step at a time, reassessing and adapting to learning styles and adding complexity with each step.
The same is true of language and reading. We start by learning the alphabet and move on to letter sounds. We add to each step, constantly reviewing, adapting to changes and reinforcing what has already been learned.
We gain confidence and ability through small successes and we learn to move quickly and adapt as needed.
We learn to be agile.
This is how we are designing our classroom.
Our mantra is learn, practice, apply, teach.
Each notecard will be a small step toward a bigger goal.
Joe has mastered letters and letter sounds. He’s able to sound out most words so our focus is on sight words.
Jake knows his letters and can distinguish between most upper and lowercase so we are practicing tracing and identifying the difference between uppercase and lowercase.
Once we talk about the contents of each notecard, it moves to the “practice” column and then to “apply” with then teaching as the final step.
I have a box of notecards in priority order, but will also be able to “switch it up” based on their interests and remove and replace those they are not ready for.
Interested in ants today? Let’s ditch the book on bridges I’d planned on and learn all about ants. I’ll grab a blank notecard, jot down the change and remove the bridge card for another day.
This system will also allow me to look back and see what we’ve learned about and to show me that we are making progress.