Getting ready for the new school year can feel like preparing for a race. Anticipation of that opening bell gets hearts beating faster for students, teachers, and parents alike. Alarm clocks that have been quiet all summer are now screaming for attention. Between shopping for back-to-school supplies, navigating new schedules, setting up your classroom, and packing lunches, there's little time to think about where you're heading in such a hurry.
Over the summer, you've spent some time planning what you think will be a great project for the beginning of the school year. You're eager to launch it on Day Two, after you've introduced yourself to your students on Day One. Or should you wait until, say, Week Two, Three, or even later to start the project?
Let's have an honest conversation on the issue of coverage. Whenever I work with teachers, I always hear the genuine concern about coverage of material. And it's true -- most teachers, based on structures beyond their control, are forced to cover a lot of material in the year.
Teachers making the shift to more student-centered classrooms sometimes feel like explorers, navigating uncharted territory. Just ask Shelley Wright @wrightsroom, a veteran educator from Saskatchewan, Canada. On her "Wrights room" blog, she shares the questions that she and her students wrestle with as they engage in project-based learning. Those questions are particularly challenging when students explore issues of social justice.
When a student comes to you and asks, "Can you teach me how to make bacon?", the only response is to start immediately. When you work at a competency-based school, your second response is, "And we'll turn it into a chemistry credit!"
The New Tech Network includes more than 100 schools in diverse settings that put project-based learning at the center of instruction. That's all true, but it doesn't begin to tell the story of what makes learning "electric." That's how one educator from this network describes project experiences that ignite students' curiosity and build their agency to tackle challenging work.
What's the best cure for the summertime blues? How about outdoor education? The backyard or local park are great places to soak up the sun and dive into a citizen science project or a quick environmental ed lesson. So if you know someone suffering from summer boredom, here are some hands-on, DIY outdoor education ideas that are great for kids.
After seven years of leading an innovative high school near Oslo, Norway, Ann Michaelsen had acquired some keen insights about what it means to be a global learner with ready access to technology. So she decided to write a book. Not just any book, mind you. Connected Learners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Global Classroom, a 219-page digital book, features a cover picture of a group of teens (and one adult) standing in the snow. The byline tells the rest of the story: by 27 students and their teacher Ann Michaelsen, Sandvika High School, Norway.
Summer is all about local food, and for parents, now's the perfect time to sneak in a lesson or two about healthy eating. Here are some fun and entertaining resources to help kids learn about food at the farmer's market, in the garden, and at the kitchen table: