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Monday, April 27, 2015

Powerups by letting go.

Kids are living in a video game culture. They like the idea of "power ups". The question before us today is about powering up our classrooms. How to build a more powerful classroom by letting go? Letting go of what? Control? Schedule? Curriculum? This idea leads down a dangerous precipice that can quickly go awry. I believe there is great freedom in giving up some of the control to the students about their learning and their timeline.

This idea is the basic principal behind
"genius hour" suggested by Don Wettrick's
book Pure Genius. This innovation education
allows the students the freedom to choose
what they are learning about.

We are always asking student to put on their creative hats on and
"think outside the box" but often educators are asking them to
do this within the constraints of curriculum or within boundaries
set by the teacher. This can be open ended, but more often than not, it is restricting for the students to have to try their hand at creative
thinking within the confines of the teachers expectations.

This is one reason I love blogging. When I began this process a year ago, I wanted to structure it so that I was always telling them
what to write about and when to write. I quickly learned this is the fastest way to shut down the writings. Since then, I give a suggested topic, but allow for freedom in the writing. I still expect them to write, but there is freedom in choice.

I like to give them an interesting photo
and ask them to ponder and comment,
or write their thoughts. Here is an
example of one of the pictures I offer
as a suggestion...

If a person were to look at this elephant from the top down, it gives a different perspective than if you start at the feet and work your way up. I may pose this drawing with this question...How can this change in perspective apply to your life?

So I feel like this is pretty random. But in general it begs the question, what do you let go of to inspire your students to have greater power in your classroom?