Introducing Michelle Baldwin!

For the past few days I have been “stalking” Michelle Baldwin’s Blog as well as her Twitter Feed. I wasn’t sure who I was going to learn about for this assignment, so I was looking on the list of educators that Dean provided. I looked through a couple educators Twitter Feeds and when I clicked on Michelle’s her information at the top had me intrigued. It reads, “ If you’re teaching kids to prepare them for OUR would, you’re at least 20 years behind!” Michelle’s blog posts and twitter updates have challenged my views on what school “should” be and has given me some great insight to what the 21st century classroom should look like.

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Michelle is an advocate for teaching and learning in the 21st century…what it means to teach students in “their world.” She returned to the classroom in 2009 after coordinating technology in a Suburban District. Michelle is a music teacher by trade and now teaches grades 3 and 4 at Anastasis Academy in Colorado. Anastasis Academy is an inquiry based school, which Michelle’s teaching style follows.

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After reading Michelle’s posts I can clearly see that she wants her classroom (as well as others) to reflect the society in which we live. I can see connections between the viewpoints of Michelle and the viewpoints of Will Richardson.

One of the posts I read talked about “techno fear.” She defined it as “a state where humans feel they are losing control due to advances in technology.” I can definitely say that I have/had this and it’s because I was taught the “old school” way as opposed to the “new school” way. Michelle challenges the old school ways of teaching and provides reasoning to why we should be teaching students skills that can be used in their world.

Michelle has also taken a look at norms in our society; what does success look like to you? It can mean different things for everybody. To most it means going to elementary/high school, then post-secondary, and lastly find a job and contribute to society. In one of her blog posts Michelle talks about what she believes success means. She believes it means to find your strengths, find your passion, and find a way to make the world around you a little better than how you found it.” This challenged my views on what success looks like. What about you?

By reading one of Michelle’s posts I have learned that she believes all subjects should be interconnected, not isolated. If subjects are isolated students have trouble making connections to other subjects and most importantly real life experiences. After all we are helping our students obtain skills that can be used in today’s society, right?

Michelle is a great educator for many reasons.I believe her views on teaching are described well in her post called The Beauty of the Middle. In this post Michelle talks about how people like clearly defined lines. This would be our isolated subjects, schedules, etc, but learning isn’t always clearly defined. The grey line would be a blurry line or the middle. Michelle believes that its best to be in the middle; there is no end to learning it’s a journey and you can see all around.

After talking to her and reading her blog I can see that she strives to get to know each and every one of her students to the best of her ability. Michelle uses blogs , a classroom Twitter account, and endless apps on ipads to connect with her students and help them reach their goals. She gives her students choice and guides them along as they discover and explore their interests through an inquiry approach. Michelle’s also uses a project based approach with her students; as they can create a piece that is meaningful to them. Michelle inspires her students to learn by letting them reflect and respond to what they are learning about, which is a crucial piece in the learning process. With that being said I’m sure you can clearly see that Michelle’s classroom is student centered; her students are in control of their learning while she guides them as they continue their learning journey. Now that’s a classroom for 21st century learners!

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