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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Top 5 Take-Aways for your MS Classroom

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I have been able to go to a couple of great national conferences over the years?  What makes them so great?  People!  Sharing!  More People! More Sharing!  Yup, you can do all that on social media, but how cool is it to meet those people you connect with on social media and not be limited by the amount of characters you can write?
When I do go, I am always on the lookout for creative ways to connect to kids and teach the standards.  Assuming that you might “want some of that”…I will share my top 5 takeaways of this year’s findings with you: 

1.       Got a kid who is intellectually curious?  Hook them up with a “Weekly dose of Curiosities and Puzzlements!”  Check out for some great resources to get them thinking! 

2.       Spaghetti Towers – you’ve probably been challenged to build a spaghetti tower in your lifetime.  Simple materials, design challenge, etc.  Who do you think are the most creative people working on this challenge?  Check out this Ted Talk to find out!  While accepting the challenge (and failing) during session at the conference, the leaders kept adding constraints like “oh no, you are now working with people who do not speak your language, no talking for the next 5 minutes).  Fun, challenging, team building, design work, STEM principles, etc.

3.       Always looking for new tools!  Check out the Student-driven Blended Learning Classroom presentation page from @Mr_Hallerman and @haydabeck to see some examples organized by use – Create tools, Save tool, etc.

4.       Play Like a Pirate – Yup Quinn Rollins (@jedikermit), Curriculum Specialist at Granite Public Schools uses toys to teach Language Arts, History, Science.  Using us as his model classroom, we did some really great things with Playdough and Toy Packaging – he has included lots of templates on the right side of his home page to get kids writing bibliographies, etc.  Good stuff…funny guy, engaging activities…even Dave Burgess himself was participating!

5.       And then there’s S.N.O.T.  – stuff not on the test (not the real name of her session but….) by Debbie Silver. Wow.  So much powerful stuff in this workshop, I invited her to come to speak to us directly.  Have you seen this video?  Pretty powerful statement to get you thinking about how screen time is taking away from our ability to connect in person.  Check it out.  Great advisory topic. Can we auto-correct humanity?  Or How about this video “There’s no Dishonor in having a Disability?”

Debbie’s workshop made me laugh, made me cry, gave me specific strategies and activities to connect to my kids and help them connect with the people aroud them.  Check out her books Deliberate Optimism (co-authored with Jack Berckmeyer) or Fall down 7 times Get up 8-Teaching Kids to Succeed.  Like a breath of fresh air, she will help you bring out the joy in your life and your teaching!  Come see her in person at the NJAMLE Annual Conference on March 

crossposted in Right in the Middle - the NJAMLE Blog

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