Thursday, July 9, 2015

Book Study: Active Learning

This post continues the series of Learn like a Pirate Book Study. 

This chapter really got me thinking about how my lessons could be better.  I am so pumped up for revamping my PBLs this year. We are one of Nashville’s premier STEM/PBL schools, so we already have some pretty neat lessons, but the Social Studies standards seem to sometimes fall to the wayside.

My partner teacher and I have already begun to create units, but when I read this chapter I just knew I needed to incorporate some more active learning. In our school we have kits that drive the exploration in STEM. 
Some great things I got out of this was that you have to be willing to make learning fun and exciting so that your kids are excited. I don’t know too many teachers that will dress up for their kiddos anymore. We should totally do that more! Get kids interested. I mean why does Ms. Frizzle intrigue our students today? She’s willing to go the distance to give the kids hands on, problem solving work!

My kids last year worked hard on our virtual field trip as we followed John Smith or as we explored the Jamestown Colonies. They remembered it for the test too! I didn’t do a single worksheet on it! The students remembered Sequoyah from the first nine weeks after we had used the Tennessee Traveling Trunks from the State Museum. (If you aren’t in Nashville, but are in TN, then go to your local State Park to inquire about them!) The traveling trunks include hands on activities and manipulatives to engage little learners. We use kidblog and journals for grades and to show off learning. 

My kids really understood taxation without representation when the principal came up and told them they’d have to pay to go to specials and recess! The concept CLICKED instantly!

The year before, students did historical reports, but they dressed up as their person. They were recorded in front of their peers. People asked them all day who they were dressed like. The students loved the attention. They loved retelling their stories. What the best part, they remembered the people they became!

I had just learned about Thinglink from a workshop earlier this summer, and I am really excited about learning to use that this year. Students can really take a photo and create points to click on that will enhance their project.

One thing I want to implement this year is Passion Project or Genius Hour. Last year, only the kids who went to Encore got to do this, but I really wanted my other kids to yearn to get to do it. Then I heard what breaks your heart… “Only the smart kids get to do cool stuff like that!” It broke me. Why not allow all students time to explore a topic they find interesting. Maybe every nine weeks the kids could present their projects so that others can see what they’ve been working on!

My mind is reeling with ideas. Now, the question for me is how can I get all of this for my two classes, RTII, Guided Reading, and whatever else I need to do with my 2 hours of time with the kids? I’m ready to accept this challenge. 

What about you?!
What do you think is an obstacle? 
What do you want to try?

Since this chapter discussed ways to enhance Social Studies learning, I thought that this product might be interesting to some. I completed my Early Native Americans Center Stations. Until July 12th you can get it, along with some of my other social studies products, for 20% off! 

Weekly Social Studies Center: Early Native Americans

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