Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I know Common Core is coming. I know that with it brings many big changes. For others (like me) it is confirmation of what I already do with my students. Our methods and strategies are finally being validated. That's a great feeling.

To prepare for Common Core, what better way to have students "wrestle with text" is for them to pursue their passions? Yep, their passions. Students decide, student lead, student driven.

Very exciting! Students in control ...that could be the frightening part.  But if I have learned anything in my twelve-years teaching, it's that students will rise to the occasion and I have no doubt they will do that here. 

I am presenting students with their very own learning time. Genius Hour. 

As many educators know, Genius Hour began at Google (thanks Google!) where their employees had to spend 80% working and then they could spend 20% of their time on projects of their choice. I was fortunate enough to see this in action when I trained to become a Google Certified Teacher in Sydney Australia in 2011. It was amazing to talk with workers and here about their work at Google and the flexibility to pursue their own passions while working for Google. 

What was the result? Better workers!

So why not in our classrooms? Why not indeed!

My students will get the opportunity to do what Google works do. Have their own time to pursue what interests them. I am excited to report what projects the choose as well as their reactions!

Here is my introductory lesson! Download it at the SMART Exchange!


Want to know more about Genius Hour? Here is a video!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Business Letters

Students study the format of a business letter. To make it "real" for students, they have an opportunity to choose someone famous person (a band, singer, writer, movie star, etc) to write to.

Students draft their letter, peer edit, and then type their letter and fill out their envelopes then I mail them out.

Students who receive letters back (they are sent to the school) they open them and share with the rest of the class. It is wonderful and the kids LOVE it.

Here is a picture of what Emma received back!