Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for the ‘Student Ownership’ Category

“Everybody’s It!” – Building Relationships With Play!

I can’t join in because of my knees, but I watch.

I stand on the sidewalk, outside our back door, and watch them engage in our Morning Meeting activity, “Everybody’s It.”

When the weather warms up, we head outside for our Morning Meeting activity every day that we can.

I am fortunate, I open our back door, and they hit the blacktop.

I do not remember where I found “Everybody’s It”. I didn’t make it up, but I love this game and what it does for my kids.

It’s exactly what it says, everybody’s it. Anyone can tag you, and you’re frozen. But, anyone can “unfreeze” you.

I set my timer and let them loose, and I watch.

They have evolved since the beginning of the year.

Everyone used to be out for themselves.

Now, they find a way to double back and unfreeze another student.

They call out the names of students that are frozen, knowing that they can’t get to them, but hoping someone else will.

They unfreeze, not only their friends, but any of their peers who are frozen.

They run like crazy, no one thinking they are too cool to play.

They have fun, and don’t take themselves so seriously.

I think one day before school ends, I’m going to put on my sneakers, and join in. With my knees I’ll be easy to catch, but with the relationships I’ve built with them. I know I won’t be frozen long!:)


Student Voice = Student Passion: TED Talks Part 2

I could have assigned the Natural Disaster Research report

It would have been soooo much easier.

It’s already written. We’ve used it before.

It has a rubric, complete with strict guidelines on what must be included in order to get the best grade.

But I couldn’t do it.


After getting my feet wet with TED talks last year, I couldn’t do it.

Last year, I allowed my more “capable” students to create a TED talk presentation.

This year, I included all of them. Out of 28 students, only one did not complete it.

One. (Yeah, he completed his over the weekend!)

And they had a ball!

Not only did they complete their presentations, but they also got a chance to present to their peers, the principal, our reading coach, and their parents.

Here were my guidelines:

Choose a topic you are passionate about or interested in.

Write a speech, not a research report.

2  minutes or more.

Research must be included to support what you are sharing.

Create a slideshow that correlates with your speech. It may include video and/or images.(No random images or video) OR a title page.

Write the speech and post script on Telemprompter. (Teleprompter Pro is better because it has unlimited scripts)

Cite the sources.

Practice your speech out loud. They videotaped themselves with our Swivl when they practiced.

Although the students chose their topic, there was a teacher component. You have to break them out of the research report mode. The “just the facts” mode. Or the “What do you want me to say?” mode. One on one conferences are a must or this is not going to work.

They were amazing! They were awesome!

As I sat, and listened to their presentations, I was in awe.

An example of awesomeness; the adults learned about an app that would freeze their child’s phone screen during the “Too Much Screen Time” presentation. Immediately the adults in the room began writing down the name of the app!  Needless to say, her peers weren’t too happy with her.:)

They did this.

They worked and worked, and the product was stupendous.

Things I would do differently:

28 presentations in one day is too much. I ended up dividing the days.

Make sure all the scripts are on the same Ipad.

Practice public speaking all year.(One of my students was so nervous, he kept one hand on his head throughout his entire presentation. I don’t think he was even aware of it!:))

Use the stage. More authentic feel.

I didn’t grade them.I felt that placing a grade on this would diminish  their work. However, what they learned during this project, can now be applied to the Performance Task they have to complete, which will be graded.

Looking forward to the passions a new year brings!

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