If you have ever mentioned love to a room full of middle schoolers, you would know that more explanation is needed. I have learned that even with the best of intentions there are many people who do not know me or my passion for education and a future that involves everyone working together for the good of everyone.
Below is my explanation for how I am using #boldlylove for the 2018-2019 school year.
WE ALL NEED TO BE BOLD IN OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.
I believe, in our world today, that we have moved away from civil discourse and a general love for other human beings that we should be engaged in daily. I see, as an educator, that we have too many students concerned about their world and making themselves feel happy and good and many times at the expense of others. We are all required to be at school, my requirement is for my career and students/parents are required by law, so building a common love for everyone is a way that I want to build culture with my students.
#boldlylove means that we do not have to all think the same, we do not all need to agree with everything that is happening in the world or how to fix it, but we do need to show others that we care about them, we will listen and engage in conversations and want good for others.
#boldlylove transcends any political party.
#boldlylove transcends any one religion.
#boldlylove means understanding, that at times, each of us will be alone or standing out from the crowd at some point in our lives. Framing this within #boldlylove means that I want my students to think about standing out, for good, in the way that they treat others.
Below are examples of what #boldlylove looks like in an educational setting for students;
befriending someone who does not have many friends,
standing up for someone who is being bullied,
working with others who you may disagree with,
accepting others the way they are,
forgiving others if you have been wronged in the classroom, hallways, lunchroom,
talking with others to help the group have success,
showing others you have empathy for what they have going on in their lives,
expressing a perspective that has not yet been expressed,
allowing classmates to get to know you through your expressed strengths, struggles, interests or passions,
listening to others and their ideas,
advocating for those who do not have a voice,
seeking solutions to community, city, state, national problems,
speaking out on issues that are relevant and important to young people's lives,
doing what is good and right when others are not stepping up to do it,
and living with personal values, beliefs, goals and wanting to do what is right.
Below are examples of what #boldlylove looks like for me as an educator;
treating each and every student as an individual,
listening to the concerns of all students and parents,
living with empathy for all students and what each student brings into the classroom,
allowing each student to have a fresh slate each and every day,
empowering students to use their voice for good,
giving opportunities for students to have voice and choice in the work they complete,
building positive relationships with all students,
recognizing the good that each student demonstrates throughout the day,
calling home with positives that are recognized with each student,
breaking down barriers for what is preventing students to be successful,
giving of any resources that I have access to for students to be successful in their work,
providing opportunities for students to stretch their comfort zones,
allowing for human dignity and allowing students to go to the bathroom without having to ask,
giving all students the opportunities to do real, authentic work,
demonstrating positive adult collaboration throughout the day,
trusting that all students are good people and want to do what is good and right,
assuming that students are doing the best they can,
instilling a positive growth mindsets,
correcting negative self-talk to help students understand that the most powerful words they say are the words they say to themselves,
celebrating student work in a public space that allows for parents and others to join in the celebration,
and providing opportunities for students to develop a positive social media presence.
This is what #boldlylove means when I use it.
I want my classroom to be a micro-version of what the possibilities could be of the relationships inside and outside of school.
Living out #boldlylove will never be easy. If it was, this idea would not be a thing.
I believe each one of us plays a very important role building a better future and that starts with how we view and treat the people around us.
This is my goal for the 2018-2019 school year.
Midterms are due. Parent-Teacher Conferences are this week.
This means many, many, many, conversations about how the work of many students is C-Level or Average.
There are so many moving parts in evaluation, I believe facilitating and guiding the students in how to self-reflect and evaluate where they are is empowering our students to own their education. Here is a link to my 21st Century Skills Evaluation Forms that the students will use when they are evaluating their work.
I do not like the current conversation around grades.
I believe there has to be something better.
As a teacher, I believe we have a big problem. The problem sounds like this,
"My parents won't allow me to get anything other than an A."
"Student asking teacher if they are passing the class. Demonstrating the thinking that the teacher passes or fails the student and the student has to wait and see what the teacher is thinking or feeling."
"Parent seeing a C and parent thinking they are failing or that their student is doing something wrong."
"Teacher assigning the class to ask 5 questions, the student doing this and thinking they should get an A"
"My parents aren't going to be happy about this!"
"But I did everything you told me to do!"
So much of what education is for our students is doing exactly what the teacher says. No individual thinking. No assertiveness. No curiosity. Only doing exactly what the teacher says.
Doing exactly what the teacher says for every student to do, is absolutely AVERAGE.
I am in my second year of project-based learning (PBL) and with PBL, the traditional way of grading does not work. Students are developing questions, working with their teammates to break down the work needing to be done, being mindful of timelines and deadlines associated with the project, researching their questions and contacting professionals to be included in their work and going through processes of craftsmanship to give and get feedback on their projects; having all of this work come down to everyone getting an "A" dilutes all this really good work.
In life, everyone does not get an A. We know in our daily lives, there are people who are willing to go beyond the average and do more work, more detailed work, overall better work, these people are rewarded with more pay, more opportunities and/or bonuses. There has to be a way to differentiate between all the levels of work being completed in the classroom.
What makes this change even harder is that it cannot be because of luck or random actions. Students need to be aware of what actions they are taking to be successful. This means students need to be in constant reflection to identify what is working and what is not and continue to do what is working and stop or change what is not working. Once students identify what they are doing to be successful they need to be able to explain how it leads to a better product for their project.
In education circles we refer to Hattie when talking about what has the biggest impact on students and their education. According to Hattie, one of the areas (3rd place) that can have a lasting impact for students is the ability to self-report grades (1.33). This ability is developed through self-evaluation and being real about where they are in their learning process. The biggest impact on students is teachers estimates on student achievement (1.62). I believe students can blow this out of the water when they are giving no limits to what they can do to fulfill the projects. I believe I will see writing and overall projects that I could not dream up of assigning. Because I believe in our young people so much I am willing to challenge the status quo about grades and our work this year!
With writing this, I am not trying to say that I have solved this evaluation problem. I am saying that their has to be a better way to evaluate real work being done by the students. I cannot stand by and wait for someone else to do this meaningful work and hope change happens in the future. There are students doing this good work now that need a true evaluation process.
Every educator that is searching for a process that would allow for student voice and choice should read this book! A.J. Juliani (@ajjuliani) and John Spencer (@spencerideas) provide the "how" that is often fleeting but is necessary for more educators to make a meaningful jump in their educational practices.
My mission is to empower students to use their voice and to show their creativity and passions in their work. LAUNCH presents a format in student friendly language that will allow for students to use design thinking in order to answer a challenging question. If you are searching for something to re-energize your practices for students, A.J. and John provide a process, that is flexible, that you will flip your role in the classroom to now be able to mentor, guide, and facilitate students in doing meaningful work that will impact their community.
Using Design Thinking To Boost Creativity and To Bring Out The Maker In Every Student
By John Spencer and A.J. Juliani
We Believe/I Believe
I believe every student is naturally creative and every classroom should be filled with creativity and wonder.
I believe all kids are unique, authentic and destined to be original.
I believe my role is to empower kids to make an impact on the world around them and fully believe in themselves.
Chapter 1 - We Need Creative Classrooms
“The new digital divide is less about access and all about creative opportunities.” Pg. 16
Would you rather have a disengaged trained test-taker or a fully engaged creative thinker?
Design thinking is not a separate subject, it’s a different way of doing things.
I will fail. The only way to blaze a trail is by taking risks and failing forward.
Creativity is for all of us, not a select few.
Creativity is a process that requires structure.
I have everything I need to unleash the creative potential of my students.
I want my students to think of themselves as makers and creators.
Chapter 2 - Finding Your Creative Approach
- Loves creating from scratch
- Why not reinvent the wheel?
- View creativity as natural, messy, and inherently, well, normal
- Data is cold and sterile compared to the vibrant stories of learning
- fascinated by ideas and constantly working to tweak things
- Thinks systems and structures are fascinating
- Sees value in creating order from chaos
- Can remind others sometimes creativity happens through systems and structures
- enjoys designing and developing new systems from scratch
- Masters at getting other creative types to work collaboratively by designing the invisible system
- tends to focus on fixing problems
- Always on the search for a better solution
- More interested in how things work instead of why things work
- Creativity is practical and hands-on
- subversive, actively working to tear down a broken system in order to create something better
- Often attuned to the quiet injustices kids face
- Can be considered a rebel who arbitrarily disobeys the rules
- Adept at keeping things fresh and pushing innovation in unexpected places
The Point Guard
- Make experiences rather than product
- Ability to see potential outcomes and patterns in various situations
- Ability to think differently in the moment
- Looks effortless but it isn’t
Schools need to embrace all types of creatives.
I believe I am part Hacker, Artist, and Point Guard creative.
The whole is more than the sum of its parts; each individual’s tasks, roles and accomplishments, coming together, can do exceptional work.
Chapter 3 - The Launch Cycle
Look, Listen, and Learn
Ask Lots of Questions
Understand the Problem or Process
Highlight What’s Working and Failing
Get ready to Launch!
Phase 1 - Look, Listen, and Learn
Phase 2 - Ask Lots of Questions
Individually and collaboratively
Individual first, the group brainstorm.
Sentence starters may be needed.
Phase 3 - Understand the Problem or Process
Gather as much information as possible.
This is an essential aspect of project-based learning because the depth of this phase will truly impact the rest of the process.
Phase 4 - Navigate Ideas
“Whiteboarding” - navigate multiple ideas until a general plan can be formed
Loose, chaotic, and open until zeroing in on a specific concept and shaping it into a specific idea
Phase 5 - Create
In my experience students will want to skip the first four phases and jump right to this phase. Structure or foundation essential for focused process.
Phase 6 - Highlight What’s Working and Failing
Students determine what works and what doesn’t and work out the glitches.
Need to have a clear vision on what quality looks like and how to assess it.
Stanford d.school - “Our bias is toward action, followed by reflection on personal discoveries about process.
The seven stages take time initially but will eventually save time.
Design thinking can work in all subjects with creativity.
Design thinking will work with any aged student.
When making actual products.
When there is significant time to go through the entire process.
When I have the freedom to do this work.
With standards-based grading where students can continue to work towards mastery.
When the specific problem is important to the student(s).
Without a Launch, the audience of one, will be lonely.
Chapter 4 - Look, Listen, and Learn
“Don’t seek to be the best, seek to do your best.” Sarah Thomas
Start with awareness.
7 Ways to Tap Into Student Awareness
1. Start with the observation of a phenomenon
- pg. 71
2. Tap into natural wonder
- pg. 73
3. Start with awareness about a specific issue
- pg. 74-75
4. Start with empathy towards a specific group
- pg. 77
5. Start with a specific problem that needs to be solved
- pg. 79
6. Start with a product idea
- pg. 81
7. Start with a geeky interest
- pg. 83
Action Plan Template - the launchcycle.com/action
Chapter 5 - Ask Tons of Questions
“Every child is born with a natural curiosity. It would s not something we have to teach, but it is something we must cultivate and nurture.” - pg. 94
It all begins with wonder.
Students should ask as many questions as they answer.
Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is ask a question.
Creative classrooms are the ones where students are able to question answers as often as they answer questions.
How Do We Help Students Ask Better Questions?
* I will be getting these 14 tips hung up in the classroom
1. Question Everything
2. Do Wonder Days
3. Give feedback on questions
4. Model the process
5. Practice it often
6. Spend more time playing
7. Provide support
8. Explain and model the different types of questions
9. Embrace student choice
10. Use multiple grouping options
11. Slow down
12. Follow rabbit trails
13. Share your own questions
14. Reduce the fear
Example - look up Anastasia Academy in Denver, CO
Chapter 6 - Understanding the Information
Research isn’t about reading, it’s about learning.
Understanding Your Questions Criteria
- The questions should connect to the main topic
- The questions should be specific
- The questions should be object- and fact-based
- The questions should ultimately lead to research that will help students find solutions and create products
1. Make the research process flexible
2. Pay attention to bias
3. Start early in the year to get more practice
4. Expand your definition of sources
5. Provide scaffolding...but not too much
Broader Definition of Research
1. Research Through Reading
2. Multimedia Research
3. Exploring Data
5. Hands-On Research
The research and understanding phase can be fun. The goal is to their research to the larger problem they are trying to solve.
Chapter 7 - Navigating Ideas
Ideating - wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint or make a meal from scratch and not think about the ingredients
Pump the breaks and have the students make a plan, not jump right into creating.
- Hold the students to this because it will get out of control if the students are allowed time to move forward without a plan and then the frustrations will be too great for all parties
Part One - Brainstorming
Brainstorm in isolation first - allows introverts time to process
Group storming - number students - threes find a different group
Add Bad ideas
Combine two or three unrelated ideas
Have a firm rule that there are no dumb ideas in the brainstorm phase
Experiment with group structure
Round-robin - one by one
Sharing ideas on one digital document
Be clear on specific topic of a brainstorm
Be intentional about the physical space of a brainstorming session
Create breaks for individual reflection
How can you build on someone else’s idea?
Have a brainstorm leader whose job it is to write down the ideas and guide the brainstorm.
Move students around.
Try multiple visual methods.
Don’t use a timer.
Part Two - Choosing An Idea
Plenty of debate and discussion
Step 1: Adding Details
What is missing?
Step 2: Consolidating Ideas
What trends do you see?
Step 3: Setting Up Criteria
What are you looking for in your design?
What do we want to accomplish?
Step 4: Narrow Down the Best Ideas
Top two or three
Which ideas are the most original? Most realistic?
Step 5: Choose the Idea
Which idea solve the problem best? Why?
Which idea fits with the skills of our group?
Part Three - Figuring Out the PARTS
Product Idea - What it is? How it works?What resources are needed?
Audience - Who is the intended audience?
Roles - How will members communicate? What are the different roles?
Tasks - Due? Stages? Materials? Pg. 144 Example Chart
Solution - What are the problems this solves?
Biography of the idea - not celebrating the person, but how the idea morphed and with collaboration was able to be successful
* I love this idea of having students research an idea instead of a person
Chapter 8 - Creating
“The classroom should reflect the world for which we are preparing our students. If we are asking them to create, innovate, and be outstanding as graduates, then our classrooms should be creative, innovative, and outstanding places to learn.” - Jenny Magiera, author of Courageous Adventures
This phase is where the students will have the most fun, at first, and then may experience “project fatigue.”
The “Houston, we have a problem” moment in each process will define me as a creative teacher.
If there is not a problem that needs to be thought around, under, and through, "we" are not being innovative enough and taking the risks necessary to advance our learning to its greatest potential!
Every roadblock is a chance to solve a problem.
It Takes Time
- need to give students time to experience this phase
- could provide templates, tutorials or one-on-one time
It Feels Scary
- share your own fear as a maker
- Promote growth mindset with students
- Encourage risk-taking as part of your classroom culture
- Switch to standards-based grading
- Keep the creative work meaningful to students
- Fear festers when it is hidden
Classroom Management Issues
- What procedures and expectations need to be taught ahead of time
Not Enough Resources
- prototyping is about imagination, dreaming and working with your hands to create something
- Forty-five minute design challenges
- Sometimes, it’s about re-purposing the box
It Gets Boring
- It’s hard as the teacher to step back and let students endure their boredom
- A common trait of all creative people is they work
- Boredom is a choice
- Learn to distinguish between boredom and confusion
- Keep working, no matter how you feel
- Remember what’s important
- Cultivate creative habits rather than simply winging it
It Doesn’t Have Meaning
- Cannot be about grades for students
- Cannot be about money for teachers
- Take notice of what you do when no one is “telling what to do.”
- Take notice of what you do when you are “suppose to be doing something else.”
- What types of information do you read and watch
- Create your own “March Madness Interests” bracket
- Give yourself a trial period
- Get started - purpose gives you the “Why?”
Chapter 9 - Highlight and Improve the Product
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
- Elon Musk
Ongoing mini-cycle of highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the product and then improving it based upon that feedback.
Failing sucks. Failing isn’t fun. Failing is infuriating.
- Each mistake is critical towards the final product.
Embrace the journey. When I create a safe place for my students to face their fears, I am allowing the students to develop character.
Peer Feedback Process - 20 min. - pg. 182
To keep testing and revision interesting...
1. Change up the grouping
2. Help the students become better critics
3. Emphasize all great products went through multiple iterations
4. Break it up into small revisions
5. Create the right environment for revision
6. Devote more time to revision
7. Use student conferencing
Chapter 10 - It’s Time to Launch!
“The currency of the future is Ideas.” - Sabba Quidwai
Students need to sell their work to their audience - marketing
“If you have an idea, a product, a service, or an event that you care about, you [the student] ultimately want it to reach an audience.” Pg 196
7 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn Marketing
1. Marketing is a vital life skill
2. Children need an ethical foundation to marketing
3. Students learn about rejection
4. Students develop courage
5. Students grow in their creative confidence.
6. Students become critical consumers of information
7. Students become more apathetic
Should contact with audience happen throughout to get their feedback to make revisions to first iteration?
Part One - Clarify Audience -
What beliefs, values, or attitudes does your audience have?
Part Two - Figuring Out Your Methods -
What platforms will you use to share your work?
Part Three - Convincing People to Buy In -
How will you persuade your audience without being deceptive?
Part Four - Launching
How will you release your product?
“When we talk about design thinking, creativity, innovation and the maker movement, we can’t forget what’s most important: giving students the opportunity to make an impact right now. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Not when they graduate. Right now.” - A.J. Juliani
Action Plan - launchcycle.com/action
Anastasia Academy in Denver, CO
There is too much happening in education to do it alone. There is too much happening in education to do it without Passion, Immersion into the process, Rapport building, Asking and Analyzing, Transformation and Enthusiasm in the process. The status quo will not continue to work. There are very intentional ways to build up what is happening in the classroom to engage students in a culture that celebrates the learning process. Mr. Burgess encourages "lighting a fire of passion and not to worry if it's not a controlled burn!" We need educators who are bringing to life the possibilities to the learning process.
Avast Ye! Get on Cap'n Burgess' ship, matey!
Teach Like a Pirate
- love teaching the Civil War, the Constitution, Civil Rights Movement
- incorporate life-changing lessons (LCLs)
- growth mindset
- Project-Based Learning
- web design
- Twitter - social media
“Light yourself on fire with passion...and don’t worry if it’s not a controlled burn.” Pg. 12
“It is far more powerful to “swim” with your students. They need the benefit of your complete immersion.” Pg. 15
I notice too many adults that are acting like lifeguards, high above, watching, instead of being the swim instructors in the pool.
“Building rapport is all about interacting with your students as fellow human beings,not just as subordinates.” Pg. 21
Day 1 - play-doh activity - names
Day 2 - crashed on an island - helicopter can only take 5 of the 10 people - collaboration
Day 3 - sales pitch why this class will be different and the students will be successful
Ask and Analyze
The types of questions we ask ourselves determine the types of answers we receive.
Being creative is not having it or not having it. Being creative takes practice and asking the right questions.
Create a vision. Define the goals. Start working for them.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert F. Kennedy
Creative Alchemy - do hobbies, bucket list items, passions and surround yourself with new information
“Standing out from the crowd is the only way to guarantee your message is received in a culture that is increasingly distracted and where attention spans are plummeting.” Dave Burgess
“Act as if” principle
Change what you focus on
“Light yourself on fire with passion...and don’t worry if it’s not a controlled burn.” Dave Burgess
“Swim” with the students and their work!
Relationships with the students as learners not people that need to be controlled.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert F. Kennedy
“Standing out from the crowd is the only way to guarantee your message is received in a culture that is increasingly distracted and where attention spans are plummeting.” Dave Burgess
Crafting Engaging Lessons
The Third Circle
Too often time is spent on content and techniques, not enough time is spent on presentation.
“There is no content standard more important than nurturing and building a love for learning.” Dave Burgess - Pg 78
A Crash Course In Presentation Hooks
“I Like to Move It, Move It”
- How can I incorporate movement into this lesson?
The Safari Hook
- How can I get my class outside my four walls for this lesson?
“Long Live The Arts”
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows us.”
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein
The Picasso Hook
- How can I include art into this lesson?
The Mozart Hook
- How can I use music to aid my presentation?
The Dance and Drama Hook
- Can I provide the opportunity for my students to do skits or appear in videos related to what we are learning?
The Craft Store Hook
- How can I incorporate a craft into this lesson?
“What’s In It For Me?”
The Student Hobby Hook
- How can I incorporate the hobbies and outside interests of my students into this material?
The Real-World Application Hook
- How can students apply this to their life?
The Life-Changing Lesson Hook
- How can I use this lesson to deliver an inspirational message?
The Student-Directed Hook
- How can I provide opportunities for students to have autonomy and choice?
The Opportunistic Hook
- What current events are related to this lesson?
Building capacity of the students to take ownership of their learning and their demonstration of their learning would take care of most of these areas.
Does Project-Based Learning best provide these opportunities?
- The lessons then throughout the unit will include the inspirational messages and challenging what the students have long held as school.
All the World is the Stage
The Interior Design Hook
- Can I change the lighting for mood?
The Board Message Hook
- How can I write on my board or have projected on my screen that will immediately spark curiosity?
The Costume Hook
- What can I wear as an outfit or costume for this lesson?
The Props Hook
- What physical item can I bring in to add to my presentation?
The Involved Audience Hook
- How can I keep the audience consistently involved?
The Mystery Bag Hook
- How can I openly hide something to gain engagement?
Stand and Deliver
The Storytelling Hook
- Can I create a high interest story to fit this lesson?
The Swimming with the Sharks Hook
- Can I participate in the activity?
The Taboo Hook
- How can I position my topic so that it seems like a little-known secret?
The Mime Hook
- How can I use the mesmerizing power of silence to spark interest?
The Teaser Hook
- Can I spark interest in this lesson by promoting it ahead of time?
The Backwards Hook
- How can I gain an advantage or increase interest by presenting this material out of sequence?
The Mission Impossible Hook
- How can I design my lesson so that students are trying to unravel and solve a mystery?
The Reality TV Hook
- How can I design my lesson to take advantage of the popularity of reality tv?
The Techno Whiz Hook
- How can I tap into the technological prowess of my students?
Around the Edges
The Contest Hook
- How can I include a contest in this lesson to build excitement and motivation?
The Magic and the Amazing Hook
- What amazing principle can I demonstrate as part of this lesson?
The Chef Hook
- How can I advance this lesson by adding food or drinks?
The Mnemonic Hook
- Is there a pattern to point out?
The Extra-Credit Challenge Hook
- What High-interest and motivating challenges can I create that relate to this unit?
“Rising up to and overcoming challenges, building lifetime relationships, and forging positive connections to school won’t directly result in better test scores. It will result in better people.” Dave Burgess
Building a Better Pirate
The Awkward Question
Do you want to be great?
- This answer is not egotistical or selfish
“...your greatness in the classroom doesn’t negatively impact or inhibit anyone else’s opportunity to be great. This isn’t a zero sum game. The pie is infinitely huge. In fact, your greatness only enhances the opportunities and possibilities for others.” Pg 145
“A rising tide lifts all ships.”
Mediocrity Doesn’t Motivate
Seeking greatness can ignite, stoke, and continuously fuel a raging inferno.
The Mighty Purpose
Our purpose is too mighty for anything other than our best!
Forget about the things you can’t control and play your drum to the best of your abilities!
Where Do I Start?
The first step is the hardest...
Five Most Common Reasons For What’s Holding People Back
1. The Fear of Failure - life is not 100% or failure
2. Believing you have to figure it all out before you begin - nobody has it all figured out
3. Perfectionism - perfection is an impossible goal
4. Lack of Focus - when you say yes to something, you say no to something else
5. Fear of criticism or ridicule - it’s coming...if you are trying new ideas and being proactive instead of reactive, criticism and ridicule will happen
The only part of “rigor” I want is ‘challenging’ not severity or cruelty.
When In Doubt, Take Action
Get rolling 60mph towards your goal and any obstacles will be steamrolled!
Find A Crew
You can’t sail, navigate and fight battles all on your own.
No one style will solve every issue. Learn from as many sources as possible to enrich your craft.
This would be one of my first pieces of advice to any teacher at any experience level. Find your crew. Surround yourself with people that challenge your thinking, support your questioning and bring joy to your teaching.
I have always struggled with decorating my classroom. I could walk into others rooms and see posters and spaces that looked really cool and had things covering every square inch of the wall. I was overwhelmed.
I thought I wanted a space that had interesting things for the students to see and read.
I went minimal. Everything came down because it was up for me.
I want a space that students will fill with their passion and creativity.
I want students doing their interests and their passions and I want the space to work for their needs.
I will leave the white spaces.
My students will have more room to create because I intentionally take out.
The quiet space, I will let be still.
I will be intentional about the students creating their space.
Question to ask..This learning space supports student learning by...because...
What is the purpose of your space?
A space for my learners that meets all of their needs. A space the students feel safe, comfortable and want to be in. A space learners need to collaborate, problem solve, think critically, be creative, and feel empowered to make a difference in their world.
How will you know when you are a success?
When students identify that the space helps them be successful in the above areas.
I won’t be successful in meeting my students’ needs.
An innovative space designed for the learners.
Students decide the norms around the design.
Brainstorm - verbal and visual
Feedback - What do they think of the plan?
The “Set-up” - build first iteration
The “Reconfigure” - Ask, “How can we make it better?”
“In a collaborative culture, schools operate like a greenhouse — that is, teachers ‘pollinate’ each other’s classrooms (sharing ideas and experiences) so that everyone ‘grows’ and no one ‘dies’” - Umair Qureshi
Collaboration needs movement and choice.
Idea Wall - huge - Showerboard Panels
T-Walls - t-shaped walls
“Spaces to create are about liberating the passion and purpose that rests deeply in the souls of students.”
Simple - cardboard, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, paper clips, hot glue guns
Dedicated Multi-media space
Pushing vs. Pulling
What if, instead of pushing content, we used our walls and screens to pull the learning through the students?
Display - finished work, passive
Showcase - learning progress(potential change), interactive
Crash Course in Design Theory
1. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
2. Less is more.
3. Think outside the box, but keep your product(learning) at the heart of it.
“Lives are so full of activity and chatter; it’s difficult to find quiet time, but I find that the quietest times of my life speak the loudest.” Regina Dugan
Seven Principles of Universal Design
Flexibility in Use.
Simple and Intuitive Use.
Perceptible Information. - use of colors, images to designate space
Tolerance for Error.
Low Physical Effort.
Size and Space for Approach and Use
How I was taught to write.
Introduction. Evidence 1. Evidence 2. Evidence 3. Conclusion
Each paragraph needs to have 5 sentences.
Has to be done right now.
Finish in 30 minutes.
Teacher only is going to read it and give feedback.
Product this produced.
A reluctant writer.
Never writing on my own but thought of it as "a school process."
Belief of "I am not a writer."
Nobody would want or need to read what I have to say.
The people who identify as writers, were born that way.
How I am trying to teach writing.
5-minute free-write on a prompt that I know any human-being, especially an eleven-twelve year-old, would find interesting.
Class discussion and those who would like to share, can.
Reference the topic many times in a two week period.
Share how I have learned the messiness of the writing process.
Discussion full of empathy as students talk about feelings they have when they hear, "Today, you are going to write..."
Use the 5-minute free write that is in their notebook to start their writing process.
Encourage the students take ownership and express their voice.
No minimums. No time limit.
Ask the students to think about "Who needs to hear your voice, and if you do not say it, who will?"
Students who understand that writing is hard, for everyone.
Students who are willing to write when they are not required.
Students who think their writing matters, for someone, somewhere.
When I think about the writing process I think about the straight line/squiggly line graphic to success. For way to long I have looked at writers and their final pieces with amazement. I have thought I could never produce something like that and that I do not even want to try.
I have been developing my abilities to identify having or not having a growth mindset. I have been recently experiencing how many different, very impactful ways, not having growth mindset, has weighed me down.
There is probably a thought that I should not be teaching about writing because I am not an "English teacher." I believe there is a place to have a teacher teach formal ways to achieve a final writing product but I would like to have students enjoy writing before I start telling them how to write.
Starting in February, I have been writing, not as a requirement for a class or my job, but because my mindset has shifted towards the idea of sharing what is happening in my educational/learning journey. I have hopes that somehow my writing is helping someone, somewhere.
Telling students they need to write a paper in an argumentative format seems crazy when their first thought is "How long does it have to be?" Is this building up a culture of writing or a culture of getting things done in school to get them done for school? Telling students to write a research paper seems like an impossible task when their first thoughts of writing are, "I don't need two English classes."
There needs to be an acknowledgement that if we are needing our students to write, we need to spend time developing their mindset to be positive about the writing they are doing.
Within doing project-based learning (PBL) there is a huge need to document the learning process and not just have a product. Having students write has been a struggle and I will now be having them write about what they should have a masterful amount of knowledge of, themselves and their learning, as a form of documentation.
As an educator, I believe we have the process of teaching students about writing backwards.
We need our young people to enjoy the benefits of expressing their thoughts in writing on many different topics.
We need our young people to be willing to engage in the writing process and enjoy how hard it is to effectively communicate ideas that are swimming around in their heads.
We need our young people to understand the power they have in their voice and how that translates to their writing.
We need our young people to understand and believe they have value and their ideas need to be heard.
We need our young people to be writers.
I had a feeling I knew. I wanted to observe what the students were going to produce when challenged to be creative.
The products were one or the other.
A poster or a PowerPoint.
Creativity has gone by the wayside in school to create more time for content. The classroom is more tidy when we give the students a list of directions to complete the project and all end up having the same item. The difference between the products is who followed all the directions better. The things that we have told the students, successfully, is to make are the things that are the easiest to assess.
Doing project-based learning (PBL) this year has allowed for student expression. Their learning being expressed in real and more powerful ways than the ways listed above. It is harder and more of process for a student to make a video about their learning. It is harder and more of process for a student to paint five different art pieces and come up with a solution for how they are going to be displayed on the Showcase Day. It is harder, for the student. It does require students to think about how to demonstrate what they have learned in a way that their learning is not lost. Don't we, as adults, struggle with explaining everything that we have learned and would have benefited from more practice throughout our school days?
I have found that when students are interested and passionate about their learning, expressing their passion in a poster and PowerPoint will not give it justice.
I wanted to provide my students with ideas that would help them start thinking differently and understanding that creating something different will be a risk. I want our students to know that even if they try something new and it fails, they are still in a successful learning cycle. The people that always do what they know will always be where they are currently. Presenting the students the below list taken from Ryan Schaaf allowed for this thinking and tinkering with their products to begin.
I will continue to show this list to my students and encourage them to take more creative risks and learn something new about themselves in their own creations!
100 Things Students Can Create To Demonstrate What They Know by Ryan Schaaf
Fake Social Media Account
Google Earth Tour
Self-Directed Short Video
Show & Tell
Social Media Branding
For the second semester of the school year I have had the opportunity to say yes to a couple of my former students who wanted to be aids in the classroom. I took this as a tremendous compliment because to me this meant that I developed a positive relationship with a student who would knowingly want to be in my classroom again but in a different role.
I am still learning how to effectively engage with having an aid that is very capable to do so much around the classroom. I did ask her if she would write a few words on what lessons she has now known to be true since she has left my room two years ago. I cannot take much credit for the following words because I know Abby already possessed many positive skills but I love hearing in her own words what areas will need to have growth to be successful throughout the middle school years.
Ms. Abigail Jones' own words...
"Many responsibilities are needed to succeed in middle school along with the rest of your academic life. The ability to manage your time is one of the responsibilities needed. To balance your work and leisure, will allow you to get work done efficiently and in a timely manner. Keeping organized by scheduling your work needed to be completed at home and making sure it gets done by not procrastinating will ensure work to be turned in without the last minute hassle.
Looking after your own work and minor needs gains responsibility and self-independence. Asking questions or requesting help about subjects/information you don't know or are unsure about will keep you getting lost and behind. Giving yourself challenges to go up against or conquer allows you to strive in classes as well as activities outside of the classroom.
The most important thing that you can do is try. If you try your hardest to do the task, you'd be surprised on what happens. To not do it or barely work on it, the result is going to be poor. Doing it last second takes a substantial amount of energy and is stressful. Doing as much as you can everyday is easier and gets you further. Seeing what you have accomplished at the end is incredibly motivating as well as thrilling to see what you can do." - Abigail Jones - 8th Grade 2017-2018
Abby is one example of so many of our young people who are growing each and every day. Our young people are taking on responsibilities and assuming their roles in making their world a better place!
Thanks Abby for taking on this task and sharing your incredible insight!
Mr. Dylan Wince
I am not a writer but I am writing. I have learned too much to not share my journey.