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Showing posts from April, 2017

In My Classroom: Giving Students Choices

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Over the past few weeks my World History students have been hard at work on research projects in class class, it was a project I had designed with concepts like Genius Hour and 20% Time in mind but I also knew that I was too far behind in the year to allow my students to just study anything they wanted as both those concepts promote.

So I took the things I love about Genius Hour and I applied them to a content specific research project: 

Students would reflect daily on their work. Students would have choice on what they researched (as long as it fell into the realm of World War II).Students would work on this only in class and would get ample time devoted to this task alone. Students would have total choice in the final product they created from their research. Even knowing that I was limiting their area of study to anything World War II was daunting, part of me worried there wasn't enough buy in, that students would not be able to find something they had a true interest in and the…

Book Review: Rethinking Grading

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Why I Picked up the Book How do you grade? What is the purpose of grades? And what do grades actually mean? These are questions that plague me as I stare at stacks of work to grade and wonder if the grades I give truly serve me students the way I want them to. I've already read on the subject but still had more questions so I decided to focus my next reading on a book about Standards-Based Grading. 
The Review Rethinking Assessment by Cathy Vatterott clearly explains what standards based grading is, how it can help our students and change our classrooms, and how to practically implement both on the classroom level and school wide. Throughout this book, she raised the exact questions I have been facing in my classroom and made clear and solid arguments for how adopting a Standards Based Grading practice could address those issues. 
The most compelling case made in this book is that we need to move away from compliance only classrooms. That by teaching compliance over valuing learning…

In the Classroom: My First BreakoutEdu

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When I started this year a colleague of mine was obsessed with #BreakoutEdu and she kept building these incredibly intricate lessons and showing pictures of students highly engaged in their work. During first semester, I had dipped my toe in the water by making a scavenger hunt that had some locked google forms that students had to open to get the next clue but they were mostly review questions and did not have the same elements of a true breakout. 
I knew I wanted to do something big to bring up morale and energy when students returned from Spring Break and I also wanted a lesson that was a mix of review and new information, to get students back into World War II after a week away. So I created by first Breakout lesson and it was amazing. 

What is BreakoutEdu?
Well, it's kind of like an escape room for your classroom but instead of having students locked in a room and trying to break out of it, they are trying to break into a series of bags and boxes that each have combination loc…