Practical Strategies

5 Practical Ways to Innovate in Your Classroom (Right Now) – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Note: I’m running a free webinar on this topic where I dive into the strategies, research, and resources that can make innovation come alive in your classroom and school with these FIVE Practical Ways to Innovate. Sign-up here and find a time that works for you! In talking with a teacher in my district last week, she asked a question we all had been thinking. “I know we are supposed to be thinking about the future, and how to…

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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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A Project-Based Learning Activity That Can Work in Any Classroom – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

In our last post, we dove into a three-step system to get students to do the talking. Getting them to open up and do the majority of talking (and learning) is not as easy as some make it out to be. In fact, for me, it was incredibly difficult. The three-step system scaffolded a way for students to take on more and more of the discussion responsibilities until they were ready to take over. Here are the three steps…

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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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How the Heck Do You Grade Choice-Based Learning? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Note: This is the fourth post in a series on Project Based Learning. You can check out all of the other posts here. My first full year of teaching was as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher. It was my dream job at the time. I love the energy of middle school students and I was still taller than most of them. My situation was even better than expected because our MS teams had two language arts teachers and…

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The Simple System For Planning Project Based Learning Experiences – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

The most successful teaching begins, therefore, with clarity about desired learning outcomes and about the evidence that will show that learning has occurred. Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units There is something happening across the country and around the world right now. It’s hidden in the planning sessions of colleagues, in the professional development opportunities at schools and conferences, and in the hallways as teachers and administrators talk with each other about…

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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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3 Simple Ways to Differentiate Instruction in Any Class – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

The preference for our society, if we really want to be effective, is to teach so that they learn, not merely present curriculum and document deficiencies or meeting standards or not. I might teach the way that’s uncomfortable for me, but that’s fine. My success comes from my students’ success. – Rick Wormeli on Differentiated Instruction Are you like me, and still a bit confused with differentiation’s place in the classroom? I understand the basics, and I also understand…

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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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Real Ways WE Can Help Inspire a Generation of Innovators – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

It seems after all this research I’ve done on the current state of education and all the reading I’ve done on the future of learning, that one piece of information keeps coming back to get me again and again. It’s basically screaming at me when I look at past innovations, past movements and reforms, and current changes in education. My opinion on the future of education (and learning) doesn’t matter. Does that seem harsh? Give me a minute to explain.…

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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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Over 75,000 students from 14 countries are ready for the Global Day of Design #GDD18 on May 4th – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Last year over 60,000 students from 600+ schools, in over 12 countries and four different continents participated in our second annual Global Day of Design. The hashtag went viral as students and teachers shared and launched their creative projects all day long around the globe. This year, we are doing it again, and we can’t wait to see what students design, build, and make! Already we have over 75,000 students signed up to participate from 600+ schools, in over 14 countries…

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5 Reasons to Try Genius Hour Before the End of the School Year – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

If you haven’t heard of Genius Hour or 20% time in the classroom, the premise is simple: Give your students 20% of their class time (or an hour each week) to learn what they want. These projects allow students to choose the content and still acquire/master skills and hit academic standards. I’ve written extensively about Genius Hour and 20% Time, but wanted to share a list of the 5 reasons you should consider Genius Hour in your classroom (for those of you on the fence) before…

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What Should Be the Teacher’s Role During Project-Based Learning? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Teaching is not always easy. And learning can be a struggle for many of our students. As educators, we are called to this back and forth process of teaching and learning. We push and challenge, and then support and guide. It’s easy to get lost in the grind. It’s why so many teachers get burnt out, and why so many students complain about school. However, if we think about each school year as a journey — one that will…

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Get Your FREE Copy of The PBL Playbook – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Today I turn 35 years old. And I couldn’t be more excited than I am right now to share my new book, The PBL Playbook. Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to work with teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders all around the world, both face-to-face and online. What I’ve found (over and over again) is that there are amazing people working in education every single day. People who care, people who are taking risks to change paradigms,…

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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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100 Project-Based Learning Ideas for Every Age – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

“Everything begins with an idea.” – Earl Nightengale When I started on my Project-Based Learning journey, I always wondered what other teachers were already doing with PBL in classrooms around the country and world. I remember joining Ning sites and finding other teachers who were doing PBL, it was like a dream come true to chat and discuss and learn. With the growth of Twitter, blogging, and conference I was able to meet educators from around the world who have…

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What Happens When We Become 1% Better Every Day – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I had the chance to interview New York Times bestselling author James Clear, for my new podcast, Scratch Your Itch. James is the author of Atomic Habits and has built up a massive tribe at JamesClear.com. In this episode, we talk about his new book, how he got started researching about habits, what he believes are the biggest game changers for our lives in terms of habits, and what this means for learning better (and helping fuel curiosity). You…

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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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