Seven Reasons to Pilot Genius Hour Projects

Genius Hour (or 20% Time) projects begin with a simple idea: give students a dedicated period of time to pursue their passions, interests, and questions in a creative way. In this blog post and podcast, we explore the benefits of doing Genius Hour projects. Listen to the Podcast If you enjoy this blog but you’d […]

Who Owns the Learning in Your Classroom?

It took me years to transform my instruction toward a more student-centered approach. This is my story where I share my journey toward student ownership through student choice. Note that this is a revision of a post I wrote last year. I’m taking a few weeks off to work on a novel (which I can’t […]

Making The Shift from Student Engagement to Student Empowerment

We often focus on student engagement, but student empowerment is a step further. Here, we focus on the seven shifts toward student empowerment. Two weeks ago, I was a chaperone for my son’s fourth-grade field trip to a hands-on pioneer museum. Students learned how to make homemade candles, how to chop wood, how to do […]

The Five Biggest Fears that Kept Me from Empowering Students

I recently wrote about my journey toward empowering students through ownership. It began with a “throw away” week during state-wide testing when I felt the freedom to do something different. From there, I ultimately embraced this idea of student empowerment. However, I was afraid along the way. I’d like to explore some of these fears […]

Fidget Spinners Aren’t the Issue (The Real Issue Is Student Ownership)

The debate about fidget spinners often misses the bigger issue of student ownership. When we focus on student distractions and student engagement, we miss out on student empowerment and student ownership.  Listen to the Podcast Just click on the audio below to listen to this Creative Classroom podcast. You can also listen to it on […]

5 Tips for Getting Started with Student Choice

What does a choice-driven classroom look like? Student choice goes beyond simply picking an item out of a menu. It’s about self-directed students taking charge of their own learning. Here are some of the ways students can own the learning process: Students select the course text. They get to decide about what to read or […]

What Three Ice Cream Shops Can Teach Us About Choice and Differentiation

Baskin Robbins offers 31 flavors. The rotation changes each month, so I’m guessing there are probably hundreds if not thousands of flavors that they create. If you’re looking for choice, this is place is it. And there’s a good chance you’ll find something that you like at the store. If you can’t, you might want […]

Can Less Choice Lead to More Creativity?

Important News: You can now listen to this blog in podcast format below. The feed should be available on iTunes and Stitcher soon: We step out of the car and instantly my kids start shivering. They say nothing, stoically bracing against a wind that seems to cut right through their sweatshirts. This is all going […]

What happens when kids struggle with student choice?

When I first transitioned from using writing prompts to doing thematic blogs, I attempted a middle ground. I offered a list of three writing ideas and a fourth described as “free choice.” To my surprise, only a few students chose the free choice option. Students seemed more engaged, but there was a cost. Several students began […]