Empower vs Engage

If We Have to Give Kids Grades, Let’s Let Them Argue Their Merit. – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I sensed the anticipation as soon as I entered the classroom. Groups of students were huddled together flipping through notes and documentation. A few were going back and forth about what they were going to say. As I headed to the whiteboard a hush fell over the room and one student asked, “do we get the whole class period Mr. J?” It was first marking period Appeals Day in my ninth grade English class. And it was the first time my…

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The Three-Step System For Getting Students to Do the Talking – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I remember the first time I heard the phrase “student-centered classroom” and I almost chuckled. I had always believed my classroom was about the students, they were the reason we taught and my focus was always on their learning. This new terminology sounded like another buzzword and I didn’t pay much attention to the presentation until I heard this: Whoever is doing the talking is doing the majority of the learning. In your classroom what is the ratio of…

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What Project-Based Learning Looks Like In An Elementary Classroom – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

To be honest, I was lost. Elementary teaching was something so new to me when I took a job as a Technology Staff Developer. I taught middle school. I taught high school. I’d written curriculum for those levels, and connected with many educators who teach at those levels, learning so much along the way. As a K-5 Instructional Coach, my eyes were open wide the first time I stepped into a 1st Grade Classroom. The teacher was actually teaching the kids…

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Is It the End of Math Homework? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Note: This is the third post in a series focused on practical ways to do PBL in every subject and grade level. Read the first and second here. It was towards the end of the third marking period a few years ago when my Math teachers in our middle school came up to me. “AJ, I think we’ve got a problem, hoping you can help.” “Sure”, I said, “What’s going on?” “Well, it’s kind of weird. Almost all of…

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The Real Reason It’s So Difficult to Start Project-Based Learning – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

My colleague and I looked at each other on Tuesday of this week. She had a look in her eyes of pure exhaustion. I could sense a call for help, but I think we were both too tired to send out an SOS. I let out a deep sigh and said, “Man, is it June yet!” The past two weeks had been a whirlwind of non-stop problem finding and problem-solving. It was good work, but tiring work. As a Director…

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What Authentic Research Looks Like in Project-Based Learning – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Both of my sons love playing soccer. I grew up watching football and only played soccer very briefly (at the youth level) before going all in on American football throughout middle school and high school. I watch football all of the time, coached football for years, and taught both of my boys how to throw a football (properly) by the time they turned three. We, by all accounts, are a football household who watches every Philadelphia Eagles game (Super Bowl…

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How the Heck Do You Manage a Project-Based Classroom? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

You’ve read the blog posts, tweets, and articles. Maybe you’ve even attended some conferences or seen someone speak live. They say, “Project-based learning changed my role as a teacher. I could talk to more students. I became a guide and coach instead of talking at kids all day.” And you think, that sounds awesome! It sounds like a dream classroom. So, you start. You find a PBL lesson or unit to do with your class. The kids are excited.…

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Can We Make Lesson Plans More Than Just Compliance Plans? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Coming into student teaching I was really confident about my lesson planning abilities. I was a bit worried about classroom management, designing assessments, and handling the demands of a first-year teacher…but lesson plans? Ha. I aced every single one of them during college. That was the easy part. We were teaching Frankenstein when I finally got a chance to craft my very own lesson to teach. My supervising teacher was great, and I learned so much from him watching him…

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A Checklist for Planning Project-Based Learning From Scratch – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Three of my favorite Project-Based Learning experiences took shape in completely different ways and circumstances. My students and I created “Project: Global Inform” together, after tweaking the original assignment. My students were studying genocide and human rights violations, and the culminating activity was writing a letter/email to a politician who could help stop the injustices that were happening around the world, or in our own community. My students wanted to do more, and Project: Global Inform was born. Instead of…

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How to Run A Teacher Innovation Pitch At Your School – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I want to tell you a story. During the mid 19th century the city of Chicago was in crisis. The elevation of the growing metropolis was not much higher than the shorelines of Lake Michigan. There was no natural drainage in the city and culminated in six straight years of epidemics that lead to the cholera outbreak in 1854 (that killed six percent of the city’s population). Chicago was in crisis, and in 1856 came up with a plan…

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7 Lessons Every Kid Should Learn in School (That Have Nothing to Do with Curriculum) – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Joanne’s mother had died a few years earlier, and now she was a single parent (recently divorced) with no job, living off welfare benefits so she could provide for her young daughter. Worst yet, she was battling extreme depression and on the verge of suicide. But, she had an idea, and the belief that it was important.  A few years later and still on welfare, Joanne submitted her manuscript to 12 publishers. They all rejected it. The 13th publisher…

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10 Design Thinking Activities to Get Your Group Creating – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

When John and I wrote LAUNCH, one of our main driving beliefs was around the fact that all kids are naturally creative. We started the book with this short manifesto on the need for creative classrooms: We believe . . . We believe that all kids are naturally creative and that every classroom should be filled with creativity and wonder. We want to see teachers unleash the creative potential in all of their students so that kids can be…

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What I Wish For Every Kid – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Be more chef. It is a mantra I’ve adopted and taken to heart these past few months as my brother lay in a hospital, seemingly impacting the world more from that bed, then many of could do with bodies that were not full of tumors and cancer. My brother was a chef in every sense of the word. He took the circumstances that life gave him and turned them into something wonderful and new and beautiful. When my brother…

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Stories Are the Key to Building Empathy – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Listen to the podcast here or check it out on iTunes or the Google Play store. I was recently listening to a speaker (George Couros) talk about Ryan Gosling in his presentation. I had seen the presentation before and loved the video he shared where a man battling cancer created these Gosling videos while in the hospital. The story struck a chord the first time I heard it, but this time it was different because of another story I heard about Ryan Gosling…

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