This school year I wanted to grow in my field of educating children, so I applied and joined the Innovation in Teaching Fellowship. This personalized learning fellowship is a free cohort program offer to Dallas ISD teachers. If you teach in DISD and are eager to innovate and develop a data driven classroom, this is the group for you.

If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to improve your teaching, and not just through required professional development, but in ways that genuinely interest you. The Innovation in Teaching Fellowship checked that box for me. After my first couple years in the classroom I felt that I had accomplished a lot, but there were still pieces of the puzzle missing and I needed a jumpstart. When the fellowship began last summer, we immediately dove into a “design sprint” which pushed us to reconsider our approach to planning, thinking, and learning, not only in our classroom but in our everyday lives.  

On top of that, I was also able to attend an SMU class that helped improve my implementation of blended learning in the classroom. I have since been thrilled to use these innovative processes with my students as a means of developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

I specifically applied this new thinking as I taught my students about useful light sources. Instead of taking a direct instruction approach, students used components of the design thinking process to design and build their own source of light. Student were presented with a problem (i.e. being stranded somewhere with no light), and challenged to design an object that would help them see. As a teacher it was exhilarating to see students so engaged and eager to share thoughts and ideas with their classmates and others.

Ultimately, the Innovation in Teaching Fellowship is much like The Educator Collective - a group of educators coming together who are eager to learn and improve their skillset.  We meet in fun places and exchange ideas with a nonjudgmental attitude. I would commend the fellowship to any Dallas ISD educator who might be interested.