Summer Book Study Blog

Summer Book Study Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate Chapter 8: Empowerment

Another "empowering" chapter on a student-led classroom.
This chapter could be summed up with the following five words from a chapter subtitle:
Empowerment = Enjoyment = Motivation = Effort = Achievement

Favorite highlights of chapter 8:

  • Passion Projects and their planning
  • Essential Question - PHAT Questions (Pretty Hard and Tough)
  • New technology uses for planning...Trello Board
  • Presenting options of making sure everyone gets feedback - important section to ensure that students present and receive feedback without spending days and days on presentations.
  • Student "Ted Talks" written, practiced, videoed, and presented on YouTube
  • Students must feel safe - explaining good days and bad days and that they are always loved.

Learn Like a Pirate Chapter 8: Empowerment


Another "empowering" chapter on a student-led classroom.
This chapter could be summed up with the following five words from a chapter subtitle:
Empowerment = Enjoyment = Motivation = Effort = Achievement

Favorite highlights of chapter 8:

  • Passion Projects and their planning
  • Essential Question - PHAT Questions (Pretty Hard and Tough)
  • New technology uses for planning...Trello Board
  • Presenting options of making sure everyone gets feedback - important section to ensure that students present and receive feedback without spending days and days on presentations.
  • Student "Ted Talks" written, practiced, videoed, and presented on YouTube
  • Students must feel safe - explaining good days and bad days and that they are always loved.

An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, July 17, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate Chapter 7: Twenty-First Century Skills

Chapter 7 was a treasure-trove of important life-skills, goal setting, and ideas for moving students forward in 21st Century Skills to be prepared for their futures as students and responsible, well-equipped adults for a successful life. I had lots of pauses and thoughts as Paul broke the skills out and was validated on ones that I currently employ and reminded of those that I don't.

I was especially interested and focused on the sections on goal-setting. I've been doing weekly goal setting around smaller goals and more intense goal setting after each of our three NWEA testing results. I plan to bring in the 21st Century Skills this year. My parents have been involved in the past, but I think that letting them know about the 21st Century Skills it will bring a bigger impact into all our lives. Preparing for the future shouldn't be left to chance. Parents don't always know how to help their child and appreciate being informed.

Reflection was another chapter focus for me. I have highlighted the steps that Paul uses with his students. "Reflection doesn't only happen in writing at the end of a learning process. In our class, students learn to be metacognitive in their thinking. ...they develop an awareness of their progress at all times...ask them to answer questions about what they're thinking, assess their progress, identify potential struggles, and make plans..."

Planning the year in advance is also something that I NEED to do. This year I am only teaching Lang. Arts to two different sections of 4th graders. I also have a section of high ability LA students. Seeing how specific Paul was with the 21st Century Skills and the curriculum components gave me a sample for how this could look for me. The 4th graders teachers work as a strong, united team, and I will share this with them.

Another great chapter for me to do some creative and critical thinking, collaboration and communication with my peers and my students, and to keep the 21st Century Skills on the front burner as I plan. D :)


Friday, July 10, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate Chapter 6: Active Learning


"We know students learn best by doing. Fortunately, the best learning method is also incredibly fun -- for students and teachers!" Paul begins chapter 6 by stating the facts about "learning by doing."

This chapter on active learning was a great reminder for what I have dabbled with in the past. I've tried almost all of these including a debate of 2 teams of "lawyers" with REAL parent lawyers serving as judges. So exciting! Parent volunteers can really be an asset!

About the science section, we have a guest dentist (personal friend) that comes to our classroom to dissect a rat under a document camera that projects LARGE to the screen. He brings rubber gloves for the students to hold and touch body parts. Writing a real lab report on the body systems of a rat were "fun" after being involved actively. Students took pictures and tweeted. The lab reports were incredible and as we shared these google docs with the "rat dentist," he encouraged students into the medical fields. This gave us a public audience. Parents were also elated with this strong academic experience. It is a highlight of the year in my classroom. Ask your personal care providers. You never know what skills they have that might be an active learning opportunity that supports our science and health standards.

I also have used collaborative online tools for team discussions on a driving question that involves research and some argumentative passion. In the past, I used "gotomeeting" but now it is only free for a 30 day trial. There are lots of options for this including google drive and hangouts. This Kathy Schrock site gives lots of educator options.
http://www.schrockguide.net/online-student-collaboration.html

Paul nails it when he says, "Technology helps turn ordinary learning into extraordinary fun. And the whole time children are working with these technology tools, they are collaborating and helping each other problem-solve. Those results seem worthwhile to me!" Seems worthwhile to me, too! D :)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate Chapter 5: Responsibility

This summer I am participating in 4 online book studies and learning so much from the texts and other teachers. The interesting thing is that all 4 books are adding to each other in my own thinking and learning. Besides Learn Like a Pirate, I am reading and sharing Teaching with the brain in mind by Eric Jensen, 2nd Edition, School Culture Rewired-How to Define, Assess, and Transform It by Steve Gruenert & Todd Whitaker, and What Connected Educators Do Differently by Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, and Jimmy Casas. I am making many text-to-text connections. :)

Chapter 5: Responsibility
This is a professional life-changing chapter! I can see that I try to keep control to the expense of my own organization and keeping my students from stepping-up into life-changing aspects of building personal responsibility. I plan to re-read this chapter and make "cheat sheets" on how I can release responsibility to my students to free-up myself. I spend way too much time at school doing things my students could have done. 

Silent-Day was intriguing. I found the website links (I'm reading the e-book version) to be so helpful. Hearing students explain "REARMJCL" gave clarity to how this looks. I will use this video to share with my students.

I can't say enough about "sharing the load" and creating responsible, collaborative, and supportive students. I will probably be in and out of this blog entry as I absorb and reflect more on all this chapter had to offer.

I am moving tomorrow so off to packing, but I'm sure this chapter will resonate in my brain. Wish I had a student-led classroom to help me with all this work!
D :)



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