Oh, these crazy days of May! As sure as the weather gets warmer, our students get antsy, lose their focus and challenge our well established rules and expectations. Attention spans wither and distractions bloom. But thanks to the engaging nature of PBL and student choice, I love my classroom in May. Although my students know the year is almost over, they are (for the most part) fully engaged in … Continue reading Loving the homestretch: meaningful work and active engagement
The first time I introduced National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) to my 8th graders, I was terrified. One of my teacher friends had said, “They’ll run screaming from the classroom in tears!” Some students did later confess to a brief moment of panic (“I almost lost my lunch!”), but the end result was resoundingly the most powerful and successful writing project I have ever … Continue reading It’s beginning to look a lot like #NaNoWriMo!
I have a confession to make. I don’t know how to write computer code. I don’t know how to animate digital art. And I don’t know how to create 3D architectural designs. So how could I possibly teach a class in which my students are learning these skills? If we waited until we had coding teachers and animation teachers and architectural design teachers, our students would … Continue reading Get off the stage, sage
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Programs like the Independent Project at Monument Mountain Regional High School inspire me to keep looking for ways to give my students as much control over their own learning as I can. In my 8th … Continue reading They need to learn to yearn
One more reason to love project-based learning: as the weather gets warmer and the kids’ minds wander to summer, my students stay focused, working hard to complete projects that are due at the end of the semester. Of course one reason they continue to work so hard in spite of rampant spring fever is that their semester grade depends on their performance on these … Continue reading PBL conquers spring fever