Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pirate Empowerment

Here it is. The final chapter of the book study for Learn like a Pirate. This topic is straight about Empowerment. Since the beginning of the school year is approaching, it’s great to get a plan ready for when you get back into the classroom. The main advice is to “Verbalize your intentions to your students.” It seems the biggest theme throughout the box lines up with our district’s them… there are no got ya’s in education. Let the kids know up front what is expected of them and that you will not lower the expectations for them.

The question on everyone’s mind is, how do you get students to take control? Basically you have to be willing to empower them and give them the courage to make their own decisions. You really have to have a safe learning environment for them.
Here are some ways Paul suggests to empower the kids:
·       Give Me Five
·       Encouraging students to teach mini-lessons
·       Teaching the importance of roles during activities
·       Letting them take charge of important class jobs

Passion Time


“Passion Time gives children the opportunity to spend some of the school day focusing on their personal interests and sharing those passions with others.”

Here’s how it worksit’s a dedicated time set aside each week for students to pursue their own interests by answering an essential question! (Hello mini-PBLs!!)
·       Essential Question: Students choose their own essential questions (PHAT- Pretty Hard and Tough questions). The teacher helps facilitate to make sure the questions are deep enough that a Google search can’t just answer it.
·       Planning: Then the students move to the planning stage. Students list the steps necessary to answer the question. Here is a site that is a part of this chapter, Trello Board. It allows the planning process to be seen on one screen. This helps students keep on track with their projects.
·       Discover and Blog it! Once a plan is created, students go to the blog. They create a post and continue it throughout the process. Feedback is given to them through the blog.
·       Wrap it up and Share: Before the deadline students share their learning and reflect on their process. In his class, he requires the final product to include a video, a written reflections, and a completed KWHLAQ (see image) chart.
·       Peer Feedback: I love the modified sharing process he described. Students listen to each other’s videos independently, reading reflections, and providing great feedback. 


Safe Environment:
Paul discussed a way to start your year off creating a safe environment. He suggests that students know that teachers have good and bad days too. He prepares his kiddos for when the teacher has a bad day is that they role play ways to respond back to the teacher without getting upset.

 I am very pumped. I am going to take this year in small steps. I want to work in technology more than ever before, but my students come from a background where the only time they are on the computers are to be playing games. I am going to begin with teaching them the basic skills of the computer and then widening their range of abilities. Maybe they can help me figure out that smart board and clicker system! If you have any ideas, let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Cindy - I've really enjoyed reading your posts throughout this book study! Thank you so much for taking the time to read, reflect, and record your thoughts for everyone to read! If you or any of your readers ever have any questions, please email me at and I will do my best to answer those questions! I will also be creating a FAQ page at in the coming weeks. Thanks again!!!
    - Paul Solarz