Helping Students Learn Project Management – John Spencer

If we want students to think like artists, entrepreneurs, and engineers, they need the chance to design real projects. But this also requires students to learn how to engage in project management. Listen to the Podcast Just

Source: Helping Students Learn Project Management – John Sp


Designing Group Projects So That Everyone Participates – John Spencer

Collaborative projects can easily fall apart in the classroom. You start with a great idea but next thing you know, you have half of your students checked out. So, how do we fix this?   Listen to

Source: Designing Group Projects So That Everyone Participates – John Spencer

After listening to the podcasts I’m rethinking my group projects. How do you get all parties involved in the project? Buy in? How do you get students to own the process? John Spencer does a great job in giving teachers ideas how how to do this. But obviously each classroom is different, and something that works for me might not work for you. And there will always be that one or two students you just can’t get to work. Its frustrating I know, but its one of the things Teachers have to accept, its called “human behavior” (well that’s what I think). The classroom can’t be perfect.

 “It’s complicated, John Spencer says and its because kids are complicated”.

I know the projects that are successful in my classroom are the one’s that students are engaged and have ownership. “Creative Collaboration”, definitely agree here with John Spencer. Our earthquake towers are one of the most successful projects we do in class. Students take ownership and work together on building something.

I’m definitely taking some of John Spencer’s suggestions and implementing them in the some of my projects in class.

Thank You Mr. Spencer great article!


30 creative ways to use Padlet for teachers and students – BookWidgets

Source: 30 creative ways to use Padlet for teachers and students – BookWidgets

Has some nice ideas for using padlet. I’ve used it before and it works great. Using it as an exit ticket I think is a great idea.

Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity – John Spencer

For the last two decades, Pixar has produced some of the most creative and epic films of this era. But this is the result of a culture of creative collaboration built on ideas of being

Source: Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity – John Spencer

I’ll add to this, I read the Creativity Inc.

The book really did a good job talking about Creativity. As Mr. Spencer says we are not a business, but the book and ideas in it are really good. In this podcast Mr. Spencer goes through different points and how they can help you as a Teacher. One of the main points, I think, throughout the book is collaboration and how to be honest in this collaboration. I do agree with Mr. Spencer the chapter on “Honesty and Candor” is something that is important in our class too. Peer review and criticism sometimes can be hard to accept. Teaching students this can be tough, but worth it in the end.

A definite read. I would advise listening to Mr. Spencer’s podcast then read the book, it will give you some great ideas in class.

The POWER of a Teacher’s Presence | Teachonomy

The power of your presence in the lives of others can leave a remarkable impact.  How you wield that power will determine the impact you have each day.

Source: The POWER of a Teacher’s Presence | Teachonomy

4 teaching mistakes that drained my energy (and the solutions that changed everything)

I am always looking for ways to save energy. I shared in my book Unshakeable that energy is one of our most precious resources because unlike time, energy does not naturally replenish itself. We have to be intentional about how we use our energy. If we don’t pay attention to the things that drain it […]

Source: 4 teaching mistakes that drained my energy (and the solutions that changed everything)

If you get a chance this is really good podcast/article about how you can save your energy in teaching. I know recently I lost some of my energy in teaching and that is why I wasn’t doing the things I enjoyed. I’m starting to get it back. There are some really good points in this article.

First step is getting back to my blogging. Enjoy!

Earth Science Week |

Source: Earth Science Week |

Don’t forget Earth Science Week this upcoming week; October 8-14, 2017. It starts today and tuns to the end of the week.

One of the objectives of the week is:

  • To encourage Earth stewardship through understanding”

which I think is one of the most important things we need to do today in our classes. The theme of the week is “Earth and Human Activity.” Each day has its own them and focus, for example today is “International Earthcache Day” and tomorrow is “Earth Science Literacy Day”. Its a great way to celebrate the Earth and the gift we have been given. Lets show our students how we need to take care of this wonderful gift.



Share it! Science : Shrunken Heads Halloween Science Experiment

Source: Share it! Science : Shrunken Heads Halloween Science Experiment

You teach science in your class this sounds like a cool idea for Halloween. Or for a great home experiment.

Finally a successful Genius Hour

Yes, this topic has become a major point in many academic discussions lately I just recently attended a webinar with AJ Juliani who is a guru of the Genius Hour.  It was mentioned at my school recently during a faculty meeting and I found out another teacher was using the project format.  This really got me pumped because I have been the only one doing this project for the past 2 years. My version of the Project’s a little different but after looking at other teacher’s blogs and some of the resources on Genius Hour I started to realize that I am on the right course with it. This is my introduction to last year’s Genius Hour which was a great time for the kids I believe.  I think most of the students were engaged in their task and most of the students enjoyed their projects. Sorry for such a delay with the blog post, but it’s been a busy summer and beginning of the year.

Last year’s Genius Hour went well, because of student’s choices for the project, they were part of the success. Some of them decided instead of creating and solving a problem, they would help gather data and research their topics.  So, what they did was they joined citizen science projects.  At first, I was a little leery of this because I thought this really isn’t the purpose of Genius Hour but this is what they were interested in and what they wanted to do so I allowed it to happen.  One young man got involved with North Carolinas Critter cameras which I thought was great idea, he applied for a critter camera and when he set it up he started to help with research, sending photos in to scientists.  He was so enthusiastic about this project and at the end when he presented his enthusiasm just overflowed. The student thought it was such a great project that he is continuing to do it even beyond finishing the Genius Hour project.  After presenting there were some students who got really excited too and wanted to know more about the project.  I know it was not problem solving or creating something to solve a problem. But it was helping scientists and I was happy I let him do it.  No regrets.

The second project I wanted to mention was completed by a young woman. She came to me and she was fretting about the project. Her concern was that she was not a science person. I asked her what was she interested in and this initiated a discussion on what would she might like to do.  My guidelines required that the project only needed to be within the area of science technology engineering or art.  We started to discuss the project and I told her to think about. She came back the next day with this idea to create an alien world and alien race with the knowledge that she obtained from biology and other Science courses. Her project was amazing, she created a new alien race and the planet they lived on. I’ve inserted some of the pictures of her alien and some of the worksheets.

I was amazed at the detail she put into her creation. She told me she was so excited about this and she felt that it was something she would love to continue. I told her I thought that was fantastic and that maybe she could find somebody to write a story around the alien.  The student thought that was an awesome idea and over the summer we kept in contact.  I continued to receive updates on her progress during the summer.

I think this is a great example of what Genius Hour is about. The excitement afterwards with some of these projects really made me understand how important it was to give students their learning back.  Putting learning back into the student’s hands has become a goal of mine this year. The combination of Genius Hour and Blended Learning, has been successful in implementing this goal. I think the success of the Genius Hour Project last year, has driven me to improve the project.  I won’t change much however, I will allow a bit more leeway on their topics and see what comes of it. I did do a journal last year to try to keep an eye on how they were doing. I found that it kept them on task and could be used as evidence of their learning.  I’m already planning the next one for the 2nd semester.

Freedom to Learn — User Generated Education

I was painfully bored during my K-12 education. I looked forward to college anticipating that it would be different – more engaging, more interesting, more innovative. I was wrong. My undergraduate education, except for a few bright spots, was just an extension of my K-12 education including more grill and drill with sages on the […]

via Freedom to Learn — User Generated Education

Below are just a couple of quotes from the blog post that I truly appreciate. I’m not interested in reading this book. Carl Rogers, Freedom to Learn.

Much significant learning is acquired through doing. “Placing the student in direct experiential confrontation with practical problems, social problems, ethical and philosophical problems, personal issues, and research problems, is one of the most effective modes of promoting learning” (p. 162).

One cannot measure the difference in attitude, the increased interest, the growing pride in self-improvement, but one is aware that they exist. (Rogers, 1969, p. 19)