Jun 22, 2012

Scrummer School

It is the end of the school year for our super Scrumming 4th graders.  It is a time often fraught with many mixed emotions, as students are leaving friends and teachers they have bonded with all year. Many of their lives during Summer months are filled with uncertainty, fun, and sadness. All of this mixed together makes the last few weeks of school rather interesting for teachers.

"I have never had a class bond as strongly as this class. Scrum has enabled such strong connections between each student unlike any class I have eve taught", stated the 4th grade teacher.
She has been teaching for about a decade, and in all those years, students have always "check out "towards the end of the year. My students this year keep wanting to learn, even asking to learn the "5th grade stuff" all the way up to the last day. Agile and Scrum has not added love of learning, but, has unleashed the intrinsic motivation to learn that lies in each of them.

I was honored to visit the last day of class, where I and their teacher gave out Honorary Jr. Scrum Master Certificates. The teacher made a wonderful DVD summarizing their Scrum journey throughout the year.  The Jill Paul from the Scrum Alliance sent me enough Scrum Alliance notebooks with built in sticky notes for each students. The coolest thing were the Scrum temporary tattoos! Although I was in the classroom as a coach and a guide just a few times, it was very touching as the kids gave me hugs and said they would miss me.  We ended with a Scrum circle, where we passed a ball around the room, with each student sharing their favorite things and moments with Scrum. 

I asked the kids if they would be interested in learning more about Scrum over the Summer so they could teach and coach their 5th grade class, and they all animately raised their hands. One girl, and you will love this, shouted "We can call it Scrummer School!" So, I will be working on developing a  Jr. Scrum class this Summer, a "Scrummer School", so these students can spread Agile to other students, and make learning fun, engaging, and immersed in 21st Century Skills.

This is "flipping" the classroom at it's extreme, where the students truly lead. I have always believed that education should be student centered. Others give this lip service. I take it as gospel. In my years of innovating technology for the classroom, I often learned that I had to go directly to the students to truly understand what really works for them, not, what works for their teacher.  Children have led many centuries before mass schooling, leading men into battle, commanding the hands of the farm, sailing vessels across oceans.  Students are responsible, crave opportunities to lead and make great decisions for themselves if we just"flip" our own adult perceptions....

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John Miller