Monday, November 7, 2016

Let's get started!!!

f    Ideally this book study is an 8 week study.  Each week the participants will read the chapter (1-8)independently and respond to the questions and any other incites they have about the book on the blog post dedicated to that chapter weekly. 

   When we meet in person on a weekly basis we will discuss the most important things and go over some of the biggest "ah-ha" moments the educators had while reading the chapter of the week. We will use the questions as our guide for these face to face meetings.  

   This Blog structure gives a place for teachers to communicate ideas throughout the week and to continue the conversations and experiences as they implement the ideas and strategies from the book in their classrooms. 
   Before each face to face meeting all participants will have posted on the blog their reflection and answers to the questions posted as well as any questions or anecdotal experiences. 

What can you expect from beginning this journey of teaching your students to "Learn like a pirate"?

“Learn Like a PIRATE” is kind of a How-To guide for creating a student-led classroom. Although I teach 5th grade, teachers from kindergarten through college can implement aspects of the book in their classrooms! It’s really about empowering your students to collaborate with each other and lead the classroom so the teacher is freed up to observe, provide meaningful feedback, and help students grow!

It is my hope and that of the authors that “Learn Like a PIRATE” will inspire teachers to give their students more voice in the classroom and allow them to take on more responsibilities. The hope is that teachers plan lessons that are active and meaningful to students so that they develop a love for learning that carries them through life. The end goal is that when students leave a "learn like a PIRATE" classroom, they apply their knowledge, skills, and beliefs independently, whenever needed as they further their education and move onto adulthood

By doing this Book study you will gain the tools to help grow the future, leaders that our schools, communities, country and world deserves!

Inside the book, teachers learn strategies for:
  • ·        Crafting active, relevant, and meaningful lessons
  • ·        Creating opportunities for student leadership
  • ·        Providing effective and beneficial feedback
  • ·        Instilling confidence so students can take risks
  • ·        Increasing curiosity and passion for learning

The book is broken down into six main chapters using the PIRATE acronym:

·        P: Peer Collaboration builds community and        supports teamwork and cooperation.
·        I: Improvement-focused learning challenges students    to constantly strive to be their best.
        R: Responsibility for daily tasks builds ownership in                                                                                  the classroom.
·                                                                                                      A: Active learning turns boring lessons into fun and                                                                              memorable experiences.
·                                                                                                     T: Twenty-first century skills engage students now                                                                            and prepare them for their futures.
·                                                                                                    E: Empowerment allows students to become                                                                    confident risk-takers who make bold decisions.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Learn Like a Pirate---Chapter 8: The E ~Empowerment~

I think this chapter is so awesome! My students have done similar things to passion projects I've just called them free choice research.  They love them.  I am excited to implement the passion projects and have students sign up to give mini lessons.  Such a great idea!

Please answer the questions below as a response!
  • Will you give your students the power to interrupt the class at all times, or will there be some limitations on their power? 
  • What are your expectations for the rest of the class when one student is attempting to give a direction? What feedback will you provide to those who don't show respect for the leader? 
  • What feedback will you provide to students who attempt to lead the class, but make mistakes, abuse their power, or monopolize the leadership opportunities?
  • What are your plans for the first day of school to ensure your classroom becomes collaborative and student-led?
  • If you aren't already, how do you plan to implement passion Time, Genius hour, or another form of student-choice learning into your schedule?
  • If your school doesn't already have a maker space for students to build, design and create (how awesome would that be?! Does this really exist?!!) how might you incorporate those tactile activities into your classroom? 
  • What are you foundational beliefs regarding the various ways you can empower your students? (I hope that after reading this book your foundational beliefs have shifted! always leave room for a mindshift and self-reflection on how to improve our craft)

Learn Like a Pirate---Chapter 7: The T { Twenty-first century skills}

Image result for children must be taught margaret mead 

This entire chapter is dedicated to the 21st century competencies and skills and how to implement them with intention.

  1. In what ways can you minimize your focus on content acquisition and increase your focus on twenty first century skills?
  2. During which activities can you imagine giving your students feedback on twenty first century skills, rather than content understanding?
  3. Which units or lessons would allow you to teach practice and improve a specific twenty first century skill within it?
  4. By the end of the year, on which twenty first century skills do you hope your students will have made strong improvements? why?
  5. what can you do to encourage reflection after important learning activities to improve retention?
  6. How often do you or your students set goals and track progress towards those goals? How can this become a more essential component or your instruction?
  7. What can you do to plan units and activities  that maximize your use of time and incorporate twenty first century skills effectively?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Learn Like a Pirate---Chapter 6: The A *Active Learning*

This chapter gives great ideas for facilitation the knowledge construction 21st century competency.

Respond to these questions as you read the chapter:
  1. What learning activities could you make more student-led?
  2. Where might you identify opportunities in your curriculum to include debates, simulations, or projects where you currently don't have any?
  3. During  which activities can you envision getting your students out of their seats and working around the room collaboratively?
  4. Active learning takes time. Often , teachers assign things like Science Fair projects as homework, impacting  parents. How can yo integrate active learning experiences into your classroom so students don't have to do much, if anything at home? 
  5. How can you transfer some of the responsibility for content acquisition (research or otherwise)to your students?
  6. Could Project-Based Learning (PBL) make a positive impact on engagement and motivation in your classroom? Describe one area of your curriculum where you can integrate PBL..
  7. What project or task do your students currently do in your class that you can upgrade with some technology tools to encourage more collaboration, revision, or creativity.?

Learn Like a Pirate---Chapter 5: The R {Responsibility}

We all want our students to be more responsible and self regulators (another one of our 21st century competencies!)

Answer these questions posed by the author:

  1. What tasks do you currently do that you know could be done by your students? How might you hand these tasks over to them? 
  2. Can you identify some "collaborative responsibilities" in your classroom that all students can share? 
  3. By the end of the year do you think your students could be successful leading a "silent day"? IF not, what can you change to ensure its success?
  4. Why should collaborative classrooms avoid allowing individual students to take on too many responsibilities?
  5. What daily or weekly activities in your classroom are routines? What activities are rituals? 
  6. What ritualistic activities can your students handle successfully without your assistance (both procedural and academic? Would any of these academic rituals make good activities to good activities to do with substitute. 

Learn Like a Pirate----Chapter 4:The I *Improvement Focus Vs. Grade focus*

While reading this chapter I think that the 21st Century competency that is most used for this concept is Knowledge Construction. Students are required to focus on improving and learning more rather than their grades. 
Questions to consider for this chapter:
How often do you give specific feedback to your students?

During which activities can you begin to offer regular feedback to your students?

How can you teach your students to be more focused on improvement and revision rather than completion and grades? 

How can you increase your students' intrinsic motivation so they don't rely on grades for extrinsic motivation?

How can you change the mindset of students who believe grades are their reward for hard work?

How can you enlist the services of your students to provide meaningful, constructive feedback? 

Learn Like a Pirate----Chapter 3: The P {Peer Collaboration}

Image result for learn like a pirateIn this chapter, Solarz gives a few strategies for dealing with conflict.  These strategies are intended to be taught as situations occur to allow students to learn to manage future conflicts without the teachers help. 

This is the first of the 21st century competencies "COLLABORATION" and arguable the most important.  

Questions asked by the author to consider while reading the chapter, please respond to some or all of these as a reply to this post:

  • What is the purpose of giving students the power to interrupt the class when necessary? (my favorite idea so far! I have a quiet signal of give me one, the students clap once and look at the speaker, after implementing the idea of the students also having this control the students felt empowered to ask questions, share ideas, and ask the class to turn down their volume in order to have a better thinking space.)

  • Why is it important for teachers to make a conscious effort to provide opportunities for students to lean the class?
  • How do you encourage active leadership in your classroom? Passive leadership?
  • Do you use Classroom Meeting to discuss life skills or classroom concerns? Describe how you would or already do, do that?
  • Why is ti important in a collaborative classroom to "level the playing field" so all students see on another as equals?
  • How do you teach your students empathy?
  • Why is it important to minimize competition in a collaborative classroom? How can you include competition carefully and meaningfully?

Learn Like A Pirate----Chapter 2 * Common Concerns About Student Led Classrooms*

What are your concerns about creating a student led classroom?

The Author acknowledges some common fears.  Did any of these resonate with you?

My classroom is and always has been very active, from teaching Kindergarten to teaching fifth grade and everything in between. The ideas that he brings forward were exciting to me, especially:

  • Increasing student achievement due to active participation
  • More time to giving our students immediate feedback as students are able to do their own work keeping up their stamina 
  • Achieving the highly effective rating on the ever looming teacher evaluation by empowering students to actively participate, take pride in their work, self monitor behavior, lead discussions, and have a love of learning. 

Learn Like A Pirate--- Chapter 1 {What is a Student Led Classroom}

Read these thoughts and answer the questions as responses below!

What does a student led classroom look like to you now?

Why do you think the author used this quote by Augustine of Hippo to start the chapter?
Image result for Augustine of HIppo right is right quote

My big Ahh Haa moment was:
 "A student Led classroom is one in which students make decisions and choices throughout the day with out consulting the teacher."

The fact that the students have equal power and equal say as to what happens in the classroom is such a powerful concept!

I think the key to implementation of this concept is the relationship building that the author mentions.