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Showing posts from December, 2016

Helping Students Overcome Obstacles

One of my Student Historians, I'll call her Sarah, hasn't had success selecting a person that took a stand in history for her National History Day project. Sarah is a great student but her topic choices, while extremely admirable, aren't helping her find success and momentum. She's wanted to focus on her grandfather's military experience but it seems she isn't finding primary sources like we both thought she would.
I had a heart-to-heart with her yesterday and now realize that she really wants to focus on this relative because it's meaningful to her but also to her family. She wants to honor her relative but that isn't giving her momentum with her project because military history isn't her passion. I had her take a step back and asked her to fill out a questionnaire I've used with my Genius Hour students (this questionnaire leads students to focus on their passions). Through reflection, Sarah realized that she should focus on a ballet dancer th…

The "Thinking Time"

Presenting a project-based learning opportunity to my students is always interesting for me but I had an epiphany this week. 
I was explaining a persuasive iMovie trailer project to my first class of the day and noticed that while students were viewing this rubric the room got quiet--very quiet. The normal sounds you would hear with 25+ adolescents in the room were non-existent. I realized then it was because the students were internalizing the workthey would be doing over the next few days.  I observed this "Thinking Time"--these students were wondering how they would complete their project with group members I chose for them. It was a very cool moment but I wanted to see if it was just this particular class. Sure enough, the rest of my classes that day did the very same thing--they got really quiet and internalized the requirements. (I will now be looking for this phenomenon every time I present a project!)
This made me realize, once again, the necessity of group project-…