Shelly Fryer Reflection
This week we're all looking at the website of an amazing educator, Shelly Fryer. Shelly is a 3rd and 4th grade teacher at Positive Tomorrows, an elementary school in Oklahoma City that serves homeless students in the area. I was already extremely interested in Shelly's work, because I traveled to Oklahoma City three times throughout high school to perform mission work with Serve More (formerly ServeMoore) and refuge okc revitalizing OKC neighborhoods and assisting residents with tornado and general disaster recovery.
So given that OKC has already had a great impact on my life, I think it's amazing the work that Shelly does to support students in the city. One really amazing post that I loved involved her and her students' involvement with Global School Play Day (GSPD), a day that is set apart purely for unstructured play. Her students were able to do things like create their own store, play board games, and imagine up their own "business."
Play is such an integral part of child development that I think this would be a great program to implement in my own classroom. Too often we get caught up with content and forget that students need time to develop personal relationships and imaginative creativity skills, and this is a really great way to remind students that their personal well-being is just as important as the curriculum.
Shelly also talks about building relationships with students, and mentions "good news, bad news" which I assume is equal to something I've always wanted to integrate into my classroom, only I call it "roses and thorns." Both involve students sharing with the class good things that are going on in their life, and also bad things. In this way students are able to celebrate their own successes, but also support each other during the hard times, building further your classroom community.
Another great post from Shelly's website is Technology 101 Skills for Teachers where she talks about integrating technology and arts through technology into the classroom. One point that really resonated with me is that we should be using technology to "enhance and amplify student creativity" not just for the sake of using technology. Something that I notice a lot are teachers who look for every chance to integrate technology into their classroom, but sometimes they end up hindering their students rather than helping them. If we're going to be using technology, it should be for a very distinct purpose that encourages students to utilize their resources in unique ways that invite them to think creatively and effectively.
Another great point that Shelly makes is that teachers need to be fully trained in their technology before they bring it to their students. Teachers have got to understand how to use the programs and devices that their students are using not only to be able to troubleshoot and help their students, but also because without that knowledge you can end up like the teacher I described above, using technology only for the sake of using technology and not allowing your students the greatest potential that's available to them.
Overall, Shelly's website is an amazing and inspiring resource for future and current teachers, and her students are very lucky to have a teacher so deeply dedicated to their success and well-being.