Category Archives: losing control

Let your students learn with a global focus

Let your students learn with a global focus by bringing the world into the classroom.  Any age student will benefit from visiting with and learning from experts around the world or students in a classroom far away or around the corner.  It doesn’t take a field trip to bring adventure and learning from a place away.

As a help to all teachers, SKYPE has provided a resource that you can use.  SKYPE in the classroom provides ideas and a place to learn from others.  Visit the website and see for yourself.  There is a great informational video describing the use of Skype and students visiting with an elephant care taker.  Quite enjoyable and a fun-filled 3 minutes.

Our students need to know about the world and function in a world that is much bigger than their neighborhood or city or country.  Many say the world is becoming “flat” because of our ability to interact with all parts of it through technology and travel.  Our challenge is to spur on their interest and creativity so their learning continues to help them be 21st century citizens and beyond.

Your students will be able to name questions they want to explore with their global partners if you give them a chance.  A few examples on the link include:  do other countries have the tooth fairy, how do potatoes grow, what season is it in your part of the world, etc.


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Will age based classrooms be a thing of the past?

With all the options for opportunities for student learning, will age based classrooms be dropped or changed?  Some educational professionals look to the future and say yes. 

Jeff Livingston, an executive with McGraw Hill, proposes that age based classrooms are a thing of the past.  In his article he proposes that new methods being employed by teachers allow students to progress at their own rate and not according to age levels.

This is a question for the educators and parents among us.  What do you think, how will our classrooms within a school be set up?  Can you describe your classroom in 2017?  Will yours look just like today?


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Check this out!

Check out this interesting take on education.  It is great food for thought and just what you might need during a little down time.  It is a great video on which to reflect and create your own understandings.  It simply makes you think a little deeper into why we do what we do each day of the school year.

ASCD has an entire express issue that highlights the new paradigms of education.

Enjoy!!  Perhaps you even have some time to share your thoughts.



Did you ask a question today? Did your Students?

This can the beginning of a science project or a moment of real learning.  Asking questions is how we learn, just listen to a two or three-year old.  Why do we stop?  Or maybe we just stop saying them out loud.

Google is launching the second annual on-line science fair.  A student can submit from any country as long as the student has internet access.  Language is not a barrier.  Projects can be submitted in 80 different languages.  Read about this new concept in science fairs and perhaps you encourage students to participate. 

The key to any science fair is the question asked.  Help your students formulate a clear and BIG question and then determine their route to an answer.  We have budding scientists in our classrooms.  Let’s help them discover their question, their process, and their learning. 

Let us hear from you or your students if you are going to take this challenge!


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From the mouth of a Twelve Year Old

St. Nick sent a great gift today!  A little snow to enjoy and a great post on whatedsaid my favorite educational blog for teachers.  The point was – what are the benefits for students when they do a blog for class? 

The students themselves compiled their own reasons and you can read them – there are ten reasons given.  I will give you one reason by a twelve-year-old student from Australia noted on the list: 

 ” It helped me as a thinker because when you look at other people’s posts on sometimes the same thing, they could be very different and it could change your thinking too. Because you realize the other side of what you are thinking. My comments now are very different to the start of the year because now I am thinking as a learner, but before I was more thinking about being a worker at school. This helps a lot because you want to get something out of what you do – that is what a learner does, a worker does it to get it done.” (Josh)

Wouldn’t you like to have your students say this about some activity within their class  I have heard numerous teachers and principals note that they just wish students found joy in learning and not just look for the grade!  Well do your own experiment and see what you and your students experience. 

It is my belief that we may keep learning from happening if we don’t reach for real learning experiences beyond our own classroom walls.  Of course that might be very difficult for a teacher to do if that teacher does not keep learning beyond their own classroom.  Open your doors and windows (not literally) and make connections for yourself and your students.  This may be where real learning happens and not just work!

If you have done a classroom blog with your students – what did they think about it?  What did you notice?  Did you keep it totally walled in for your class only?  Why?  Would you do it differently?

Have you had a conversation with your students regarding what they learned and what they liked in learning experiences?  Perhaps your comments to this post will help us all learn the importance of student blogs and other experiences.

Let us hear from you and create our own list of benefits or challenges.


Are you willing to “Shake the Cage” in your school?

Welcome to all the new readers of this teachers’ blog In the Classroom!  If you received an email with this new post, you are successfully following the In My Classroom blog.  If you like it, tell other teachers in your school to check it out and subscribe as well.  We want to expand our community and start receiving comments from teachers within the schools.  Theory is only good when reflected upon and evaluated in the reality of the classroom.

Those who have been reading these posts know that I am an avid reader of a great blog called Whatedsaid.  Edna, the author, is a teacher and a learner.  She works in a school in Australia and the school is an IB school.  The premise for learning in the school is inquiry. 

It stresses learning and enjoying learning through discovery not just for tests.  It really excites me to see how an entire school can work together to develop learners.  In a way, many of the posts “shake my cage”.  As Edna describes in this post, to “shake the cage” is challenging a social system to provoke change.  If you have five minutes to treat yourself – click on the link and read the questions for teachers reflection.  It is my treat to each of you who are in the midst of the system!  I do hope you and your peers are willing to provoke change in your school and the Catholic schools of the city when it comes to developing learning. 

If you take time to read Edna’s post, let us know which question stimulates you to reflect and to say – right on!  Or maybe you take issue with something.  Let all of us hear from you.  Click on comment and give us your view.  (Comments come to me before they are posted, but they are posted very quickly!)

The question that really caused me to stop and think was the very first.  Are you a thinker?  I am going to ponder that and see if I think I evaluate a range of viewpoints or just mine.  Bring on those viewpoints. 

Happy reading and reflecting in between those lesson planning and paper correcting moments this Halloween and “shake some cages”!!


Students Design Solutions, if You Let Them

Calling all teachers interested in project based learning and helping the environment.  There is an opportunity for you and your students to register to be part of the “Design Your Own Planet” competition Planet Challenge.  If your students’ project is selected, you receive $500 to help you carry it out.  Registrations due December 23, 2011.

There are many opportunities out there for “projects” developed by students like the St. Louis’ The Big Return.  The Disney Planet Challenge is limited to environmental projects and it seems to link very well with the curriculum.  What ever type of “project” you allow your students to develop, it is a great way to develop those 21st century skills.  Connect your lessons to real life and give students an opportunity to design their own learning vehicles.

Comment on this post and tell me and other teachers how your “projects” are going.  What great ideas have students developed?  Someone out there may want to help out and/or replicate the project in their classroom.  Students’ great ideas are worth sharing.