Scrum in the Classroom

Using Scrum in the classroom is not a new concept. It has been tried in a bunch of different classroom settings and written about many times. One of the first articles I ever read about it was written by Jeff Sutherland and it has always been in the back of my mind since I first read it.

As I mentioned in my previous post I was lucky to have my friend Karen come for and extended stay this summer. Karen and I have known each other since we were in middle school so when we talk, we discuss anything and everything, including our careers. I was telling her about my blog and some of my career aspirations and she asked me a lot of questions about how Scrum works — especially the planning aspects and the retrospectives.  I mentioned some to her some of the classroom success stories I’ve read about as well.  We talked at length about how to run a retrospective because it was something she planned to use for a Teacher Inservice workshop.

Additionally Karen wanted met to talk her through the other Scrum ceremonies so she could apply them to a new class she would be teaching. Then time and life got in the way and we never had that detailed conversation (which I hope we still will!). Being the bright and resourceful person that she is, Karen went to my blog (this blog) and read my posts about the Kanban board I created for my daughter and she adapted the entire idea for her class.  The class is a new offering and it is a video production class. Karen said:

The kids came in and immediately wanted to start filming, but I told them there was a bit of prep work beforehand. So, I made them brainstorm and list what they needed for a successful broadcast.

We came back together and they told me their tasks. I wrote them on post-it notes and they decided how to prioritize them.

Sounds a lot like Sprint Planning to me!

Here’s her board:


Karen went on to say:

The discussion was amazing. I did nothing but facilitate.

Those kids are not often given the chance to do something like that. They rose to the occasion beautifully.

I was so pleased to hear this. I suggested that they do a retrospective as they complete each video so they can see how they can try and makes things better each time. I think the kids will like the format where instead of being judged just by the teacher, they all get to discuss and work on improving.

Another idea for them was to  create a full backlog of video ideas, in other words a product backlog. I cannot wait to hear more from Karen on how this continues to work in her class. I promise some updates along the way.

As we are very busy getting ready to start a new school year at my house I am readying our Kanban board again, I am even more motivated to keep this going.

P.S. Karen – I still owe you some more materials on Scrum. They are coming your way next week.

Not Quite Back-to-School Yet

Despite my work schedule not really changing summer always feels like a time of slacking off. I guess that explains the lapse in my blog posts. Plus the fact that my favorite person to experiment on has been away at sleep away camp for the last 4 weeks.  As you can see here, she’s been enjoying!


However, I have not been completely idle. I was lucky enough to have an extended visit from a teacher friend and we had several interesting conversations about applying agile practices in the classroom. She took away some ideas to try and now that school is starting up she has promised me some feedback on how they are working for her. Specifically she is going to try a retrospective format for teaching teachers a new way of getting reading concepts across. And she’s going to try some Scrum ideas with a video production class she’s starting up. I can’t wait to hear how these work out and sharing with everyone.

I’m also exploring some ideas I have on managing personal goals. The Bullet Journal is a great tool for this, but I am finding it needs some more structure. More to come on that as well.

Hope everyone is enjoying the rest of the summer!