What if we were intentional about innovation in our schools? What would that look like? In a series of three long blog posts I analyze what it means to have “intentional innovation” and release the PLASMA Framework for Innovation in our schools. Check out the series of posts here!
Brain-based learning theory has been around for a long time, and it has been used to improve the classroom experience in many schools around the world. However, I was shocked how hard it was to find great resources on re-designing learning spaces when I started down the path of re-designing my own school’s learning environment. Luckily, there are a number of creative and inventive teachers and leaders who have designed their spaces with purpose. In order to share our own work with learning spaces, and the awesome work of others in education, we’ve started this website: ClassroomCribs.com.
Classroom Cribs is our hub for “brain friendly learning spaces”. Our mission at Classroom Cribs is to enhance pedagogy and the learning experience with brain-based classroom designs that students will love. And that is the main point. We can (and should) create better learning environments for our students. Spaces that are centered around research and what works.
Last year I started a weekly podcast with my good friend John Spencer called Classroom Questions! Classroom Questions was created to answer everyday questions that teachers have around the world on topics such as student engagement, classroom management, project-based learning, and how to make it on a teacher’s salary. We launched #1 on iTunes Education charts and look forward to starting up again this school year!
In January of 2012 I wrote a blog post titled, “The 20% Project (like Google) in My Class”. It has lead me to fully embrace 20% time in education, and I’m currently writing a book on the topic. We have such a great community of teachers that are now doing “20% time” or “Genius Hour” in their classrooms. This is a huge passion of mine, and something I believe has the power to transform our current system of education. If you’d like to learn more about 20% Time or Genius Hour check out the free video course I have on the topic!
We’d like to spread the “20% Time” message to the masses this summer. Sign up for the 20% Academy taking place online this July. We’ll be covering inquiry-driven and user-generated research (and practices) while each member of the class completes their own 20% Project. I’m super pumped to see it in action! Also, if you’d like to help in the planning of this project please email me before June!
In January of 2012 we started a “group blog” for teachers and educators. The purpose of this blog was to have authors from all parts of education share their unique perspective. Right now we have students, teachers, professors, administrators, consultants, and parents writing for our blog. Each month we cover a different topic in education, and we have published four eBooks as of April 2013. EducationIsMyLife.com is where I really began to connect and share my writing with other educators. It is now closed, but was an amazing learning adventure.
In 2013 as a staff developer I realized that many teachers don’t communicate or collaborate with other educators. Sometimes they’ll talk to a peer down the hall or in their department at school, but rarely do they venture out into the world and connect. Twitter changed all of that for me, and it has made me SUCH a BETTER educator. My community of peers has inspired, motivated, and challenged me to really care about students and innovate in the classroom. The “Summer of Twitter” Challenge is a way for teachers to get started with Twitter over the summer. In an easy to follow 7-step program, each teacher will reach out and connect with educators from around the world. Check out the wiki here.
In 2008-2009 a group of students in my 10th Grade English class asked the question, “Why do we learn about all of this stuff (genocide and human rights violations), but never do anything about it?” This question sparked an idea and Project: Global Inform (PGI) was created. The students picked their own groups and researched current human rights violations. Each group picked a violation they felt particularly passionate about and began to develop an action plan. Their action plans allowed the students to judge how effective each method of media was at spreading information and creating awareness. At the end of Project: Global Inform’s first run, hundreds of people had been met face-to-face with information they did not know, while thousands of other teens and young adults saw videos, visited websites, and became Twitter and Facebook fans of media meant to create awareness.
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