The Teacher’s Innovation Workbook
The ability to communicate your ideas in a succinct and accessible manner is imperative. Therefore, your first step is to identify a working title and a write a one-sentence summary of your project. Later, you will need to form an “elevator speech,” whether you need it or not, to explain your ideas to individuals who are stakeholders. Stakeholders are those individuals whose support...
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You may have thought a lot about your project, and you may even have discussed it with friends, family, and colleagues. Targeted, planned brainstorming will provide you with ideas and opportunities you may not have considered previously. It is important to be strategic and organized when planning for brainstorming. Your outline will help you.
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Setting a timeline is as important for stakeholders as it is for you. Both need to see your commitment to the project, and for you, the timeline can serve as an effective motivator. One of the first aspects to consider is the correct unit for your timeline—typically, weeks or months. People tend to be unrealistic about timelines, by underestimating both the amount of time it will take them...
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The Teacher’s Innovation Workbook
A solid evaluation plan is a key to success for any program that provides human services. It will help you stay on track and allows you to defend and share your work with others. Some educators are intimidated by the thought of the evaluation plan because it may conjure up thoughts of intimidating words such as “research” and “statistics.” However, don’t forget that...
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This step is perhaps the most important—finalizing a proposal to share with individuals who have decision-making power over your project. These people will play a role in determining whether and under what conditions you will be able to turn your vision into a reality. You want to present sufficient information so an outsider could understand what you are proposing (in fact, sharing it with...
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Congratulations! Your project is almost ready to go. During the planning phase, arguably the most important element of the work you have completed is the timeline. Again, put your timeline where you can see it, and know yourself. How specific do you need to get with your timeline to make sure the tasks are completed?
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Once you feel comfortable with your project, the fires have been out, you have some preliminary data that shows success, and your project is integrated in the school community, you are ready for step 7, growth and development. As you already know, if you do not stay current as an educator, tend to your own professional development, and change things up in the classroom, your teaching will stagnate...
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Case summary: Mr. Wayne is an urban high school special education teacher. He noticed that the only reading course available to struggling readers at his school focused on improving already-existing skills and did not address the needs of many of his students, who needed a beginning reading program. The reading levels of these students ranged from Pre-K to grade 3. How could Mr. Wayne create a...
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Case summary: A rural middle school implemented a fifty-minute tutorial block in the middle of the day so that students could obtain additional academic assistance in any area of need. However, the school quickly found that many students were not making optimal use of the tutorial.
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Case summary: Mr. Meade, a middle-school teacher, saw a gap in at-risk education in his district. For years, he had been successful with taking eighth graders who had failed multiple middle-school classes in the past and given them the skills they needed to pass eighth grade. However, Mr. Meade found that once these students reached high school, their gains began to unravel. With no safety net in...
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Case summary: Ms. Sims, an elementary school art teacher, sees the need for additional services for her students. Because of district cutbacks, she is able to see each of the students in her school only for one thirty-minute block each week. Further, she has limited supplies and limited space to display her students’ artwork.
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Leah Wasburn-Moses is professor of educational psychology at Miami University. She was formerly a special education teacher at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana, where she began an in-school tutoring program for struggling readers. She is director of Campus Mentors, alternative schools targeting youth at risk located on college campuses, and FreeTeacher U, an alternative teacher...
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