Where does the energy in your classroom come from? | Simon Holzapfel | 3 Min Read

February 6, 2024

When I started lesson planning in the 90s it was something I looked forward to. Although it took a lot of time, I found that better plans made for more energy in the classroom, more student engagement, and better learning outcomes. 

With the passing years and hundreds of reps of practice, lesson planning took less time and it remained something I basically enjoyed. Until I realized that something was amiss. 

As a heavily loaded administrator who also had classroom responsibility, I realized I was missing something about how to engage my students and how to make the classroom a place of authentically shared authority for learning. That doubt started when I encountered Understanding by Design [UBD] and then grew when I started using LearningFLOW from L-EAF. 

What I noticed is that when I shared authority with my students for lesson planning, allowing them some agency and real input, the energy level went up and stayed up. I was getting more done, sooner and with less energy. I now know that I shouldn’t have been surprised, given what we have learned about team science in the past generation and across many domains of learning. 

The UBD framework…

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Simon Holzapfel

Simon Holzapfel is an award-winning educator, thought leader, innovator, and writer. He is a co-founder and CEO of the L-eaf Lab, as well as a former Head of School, former Director of Studies, and current Board Chair of The Montessori School of the Berkshires. Simon was in the initial cohort of leaders trained at NAIS’ Innovation Strategy Lab and spent time on the Executive Board of Boston University’s Agile Innovation Lab. Simon is a certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified ImprovementKATA (LIK) & WorkFLOW (LWF) and a member of the Berkshire Innovation Center. Applying four years of experience on the New York State Association of Independent Schools [NYSAIS] Commission on Accreditation, Simon has spent years helping organizations and their teams improve their outcomes by applying lean system thinking and the agile mindset. He lives in Williamstown, MA, and spends as much time as he responsibly can each day on his skis or mountain bike.