Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Idea Lab - It's All About Sharing

I'm promising myself that I'm not doing this: "Well, the tests will be over, it'll be time to get down to real teaching!" or "Now that we're done with the test, we can start doing fun stuff!" We joke about that every year, but this year, I've tried to teach in engaging ways that mattered to my students. Some of it has worked better than others. I definitely have a lot to grow on, but I feel like I'm on to good things. When you put creativity in the hands of your students, when you have them respond to the real world and to their learning with writing, art, and creation, I think you're touching what education should be.

All year long, I've been trying to focus my skills and my students' skills on sharing their voice whenever possible. We're going to continue to do that in the final quarter of the year, but we're going to grow it. Not because the test is through, but because as ideas come to me, I want to make them happen. I'm here to help kids have opportunities to find their voice, and to help them put their voices on stage as globally as possible.

So, what are they going to be doing to share their voices? They're going to be logging so many experiences, and growing so many ideas. All along the way, they'll have three (or more?) ways to share what they've done. First, we are going to continue to be doing a lot of blogging. As we get more used to churning out writing, I find that my students' voices are starting to grow. Secondly, students may choose to do a poster, or infographic about their learning. Finally, I'm putting cameras into my students hands. I want to help my students develop their voices by vlogging their ideas, their findings, and their feelings.

And so here we are. This week, I'll be introducing (and updating) the following concepts to my students. As I do, I'll also be sharing our ideas and my thinking here.
100 Acts of Service, brought to my attention by my Twitter pal, @rosy_burke
A book and movie based on the You Matter Manifesto by Angela Maiers. If you haven't seen our short You Matter Video, it's hosted below.
Kicking Maker Club into the creation level - We've taken apart our electronics, it's time to make robots!
A new round of Genius Hour titled the future. Students will still be able to work on projects that touch their souls, but I want them to focus forward.
And last night, @PaulSolarz, author of the upcoming Learn Like a Pirate, shared the idea of What If? Wednesday. I didn't ask him a lot about it (I plan to), but I thought if nothing else, it could be a discussion help us energize about new ideas each week.

As always, keep your eyes out for new blogs from my students at, and keep checking this site to see what's growing inside The Idea Lab!

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