Sunday, February 11, 2018

8 Elements Found in Classrooms of Innovative Educators

George Couros tells us, if we want innovative students, we need innovative educators. Do you qualify? In his book, The Innovator’s Mindset, Couros challenges educators to consider whether they empower students to wonder, to explore–and to become forward-thinking leaders? He does this in part by providing eight things to look for in your classroom.  

8 Elements Found in Classrooms of Innovative Educators

  1. Student Voice
  2. Student Choice
  3. Time for Reflection
  4. Opportunities for Innovation
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Problem Finding and Solving
  7. Self Assessment
  8. Connected Learning
If you need help remembering to incorporate these elements into learning, #NYCSchoolsTech educator extraordinaire, Eileen Lennon created the below infographic which you can print out as a poster (download via PDF) and put up in your classroom. When you do, ask your students to help you consider when these elements have been present and determine ways to incorporate them into future schoolwork.  

Your Turn

Which of these elements do you include in your classroom? How do you do it?  Anything missing?


  1. I think my weakness is in including opportunities for innovation. I'd be interested to hear how others are doing this.

  2. Hi Katie,

    To include innovation, I normally try to plan an activity at the end of the unit for students where they can apply what they have learned. An example is at the end of a fairy tale unit, students write their own fairy tales. It is sometimes more difficult to find an end of unit activity for certain subjects like math. I hope that this was useful to you.

    I teach Kindergarten students and so I find it hard to include self-assessment. Does anyone have any ideas on how to include self-assessment with younger students?

  3. I am really excited to read George Courors book, The Innovator's Mindset now! I teach first grade and I love seeing my students come in with that natural curiosity and wonderings about the world. I try to always take an opportunity to allow them to explore their wonderings and ask questions, however I believe that our current education system and strict curriculum demands can limit these opportunities. Does anyone have any strategies or suggestions for how they are able to still meet curriculum demands while allowing more time for innovation?

    I feel that I do a good job of providing my students with choices and providing challenges to support problem solving and critical thinking. I love the idea of bringing experts into my classroom via social media and video-conferencing and is something I want to start doing more often. As Melissa said, I also find it difficult to include opportunities for self-assessment for my young students and would welcome any suggestions.

    1. Hi Brooke,
      I definitely agree with you when you say that our current education system and curriculum demands can make innovation and exploration difficult tasks. Unfortunately, I do not have any suggestions for you as, when I am trying to implement a new activity that fits in that category, I usually end up putting something "district-mandated" on the back burner. I think that if you are able to justify why you are doing something, and can maybe integrate it with specific subject matter, you should be okay. At least, that's how I think about it!