It’s always exciting and fun to think about what our kids might become and create one day. I have this thought frequently while visiting a range of classes from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The human potential is fascinating. Fostering that excitement to learn and create is what teaching is about.
Here are some strategies that I’ve noted from my classroom visits:
Encouraging new learning, off-topic tangents, and risk-taking.
Modeling curiosity. Staying engaged in student’s work, questions, and creations. Be genuinely curious. Showing excitement to learn alongside your students.
Demonstrating enthusiasm for your content and the skills you teach. Help students see the value and connection to life outside of school.
Are you fostering that excitement to learn in your classroom?
How did we promote reflection when students completed their projects?
We gave students the following prompt and asked them the following questions:
Strive to write a 3-5 paragraph essay explaining the process, your accomplishments, some setbacks, and the final result. Most importantly, tell us what you’ve learned: about the world, about a specific topic, and about yourself!
How did I do?
What did I learn?
What impact can this experience have on others?
How can we make 20% Time better and increase opportunities for students across the district?
Ms. DiDonato’s class is officially one month along with 20% Time. There have been a few pivots with project ideas, but no drastic changes from the student’s project proposals.
There have been many questions, ranging from “Now what?” to “Should I learn Python or Scratch?” to “Can I prototype this again with cardboard since styrofoam didn’t work?”
The consistency has been a commitment to research, production, writing, and sharing.
Every other week, students report out progress via their blog. The “non-blogging” weeks students must read and comment on three classmates blog posts. The commenting has been productive. Students are sharing not only words of encouragement, but thoughtful suggestions, strategies, or ideas. At the very least, these are exercises in digital citizenship, collaboration, communication, writing, and creativity.
This might work.
Tell your students to find two things with seemingly nothing in common.
Then, have those students name, draw, photograph, bring in, etc. those things.
Partner students up.
Now, have the partners switch their things with “nothing in common.”
Now, prompt students to think, brainstorm, and write to find the commonalities between his/her partners two things with nothing in common.
Finally, after a few minutes, have students close the activity with a discussion among the class to share out their ideas.
This can be linked to a writing assignment or just for fun. It might help teach empathy and perspective, promote dialogue and discussion.
It might be fun.
It might fail.
What do you think? Leave a note in the comments section.
Here’s my attempt at a description that comes to mind from some things I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks.
When a teacher’s passion for making a difference in kid’s lives, for the subject, for being a coach, for reading, for math, for using technology, for asking questions, for telling stories, for creating connections, (among so many other things teachers do) combined with the art of teaching it creates amazing opportunities for learning.
They create a culture in which everyone is respected, supported, and loves being a part of. They take risks. Kids are excited to come to class and bummed to leave. They’re engrossed in their learning. There is joy in discovery. There is passion for learning.