Scrum: Let’s See Where This Take Us

Scrum: Let’s See Where This Take Us

51rdmaOjUWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI recently finished reading Scrum by Dave Sutherland. Although scrum was created with businesses in mind, many of scrum’s core ideas can be translated into an education setting.  I am fortunate to work with an amazing core team of teachers at Oberon Middle School.  The 2015-2016 school year will be our second year working together as a core team and we have decided to use scrum this year in two ways. First, we will use scrum to help us address kids who are struggling for any myriad of reasons (more to come on this once the school year starts).  Second, we had already decided as a team last spring to do our best to implement problem and project based learning in our classrooms whenever we could this year and I am thrilled to write that last week we started using scrum to help us initiate our PBL focused year!  

FullSizeRender (13).jpgLanguage Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies are all represented on our core team.  We all bring very different backgrounds, experiences and ideas to the table.  The first thing scrum reminded us was that for us to work together as a truly effective team we need to understand is what is happening in each of our classrooms.  We spent some time giving each other a brief synopsis of our curriculum and then we pulled out the sticky notes!  


Our first goal was to begin discovering the natural connections that occur throughout our curricula.  We don’t want to force connections but we definitely want to acknowledge that there are connections and start to highlight them, thus the sticky notes.  Just to get an idea of where our units would fall, we set up a rough map of the year, month by month, keeping in mind that “the map is not the terrain”.  Math and Social Studies curriculum had to be in a specific order but there was some flexibility in science and language arts. We took advantage of this flexibility to highlight some natural connections.  The first unit in my science class will focus on biological adaptations and natural selection.  In social studies, the kids will be learning about ancient civilizations including the implications of artificial selection on human society.  Awesome, our first significant connection!  We are in the process of taking advantage of this nature connection to develop our first PBL event of the year.     

You might be saying to yourself right now “Well duh, this isn’t rocket science, why didn’t you do this before?”.   To be honest though, I have worked with some amazing educators and teams over the last 15 years but I have never been on a team that has started off a school year like this.  Despite best intentions and common sense, it has just never happened.  So what’s different this year?  I’m not sure, but to start, we have all made the commitment to be deliberate and intentional and we have found a framework, scrum, that we believe will help us make learning better for our students and for us. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I can’t wait to see where we end up!

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