Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Sayings: User Stories

Who are the users represented in your classroom? No doubt you have a unique set.

Here are a few of mine.
  • the active student
  • the special needs student
  • the advanced student
  • the reluctant student

I'm in a program this year called the Idaho Coaching Network which supports teacher leaders specifically in the areas of ELA and Literacy. The coaches have prompted us to think about our users when designing units. 

Who are my users? 
What will my users want to get out of this unit?
How do I best meet their needs?

Yet the most enlightening part of this conversation came when I was asked to consider user stories. Here is the user story template. 

As a (role) student I want (feature or practice) so that (benefit).

For example, when considering my active students, I wrote their user story like this:

As an active student I want to move and create so that I can learn and think better.

Each user has their own story, and the challenge is to keep their stories in mind when planning our time with those users. I believe it's worth taking the time to write their stories down and then think deeply how to meet their needs in a practical way throughout our teaching. I know I'm guilty at times of teaching to the elusive average student, who by the way doesn't even exist, while there are students around the edges who need an open door to content. They need a teacher who is aware of their needs and has provided a way to access the curriculum. As Couros suggests, it's wise to think about the learning from their perspective. 

Who are your users and what's their perspective?

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  1. I find it over whelming at times to look at all the learning needs from the students' point of views, but it's definitely good practice!

  2. This reminds me a bit of a point brought up by Shawn and Brady. They talked about going into classrooms, but instead of focusing on teachers they sit down beside students and talk with them. They want the students' perspectives of what matters to them in their worlds and in daily learning. I think your post is an important reminder of keeping focused on the students as we think about ways to innovate.


    1. Cathy, I'm continually coming back to this in my own thinking and working on allowing their perspectives to affect our classroom.

  3. What a great reminder. I find myself often forgetting to look at my lessons from my students perspective. Thank you for sharing the template!

    1. Sandy, I feel the same way. I'm not to the place I want to be yet, but the right thoughts won't leave me alone so I know I'm heading in the right direction.

  4. Very smart of them to have you not only consider the different student profiles, but to include them in a user story. That personalizes it so much more, but makes it very effective for the teacher. So many different learning styles and needs to address.

    1. Lori, yes there are so many, which can be a bit overwhelming at times. I'm sure thankful for this tool, so I can be more purposeful about how I meet their needs.