Sunday, September 15, 2013

1 Step Back to Go 3 Steps Forward. Time to act! #bettpassion

This past Thursday we reconnected with students to begin to move their ideas forward. After planning how to get them ready to go beyond simply talking about things and actually doing we realized that we had to generate our ideas and then make things happen.

So, Thursday I opened up with this slide deck and worked with an Inside Out approach. I did some reading and researching how to best connect with the students. To be honest not all 8th graders are sold on this idea. As I told them during this slide deck I think they are hesitant because for perhaps the first time in their education career their learning journey and outcomes are solely dependent on them. Their learning is in their hands to mold and make what they want. They really cannot blame a teacher, textbook, worksheet, or any other easy excuse.

#Bettpassion Day 1: One Step Back to Go Three Steps Forward from Aaron Maurer

When I went through my ideas students had about 10 minutes to begin to brainstorm independently their ideas. Reading their reflections from the day with Angela we learned that students were

  • upset with students who just went with their friends
  • wish they had the courage to break away from a group to another group
  • had more time to see other ideas
  • wish they had the courage to go solo
  • came up with a different idea after Tuesday
We gave them time to answer Why? How? What? independently to offer us their real passion and thoughts. 

I typed up all of their ideas on a Google Doc and used this information for Friday. Friday students had to take one notecard and write their one idea. During class we sorted the cards while the students jumped online to search for people involved in their ideas and to see if their thoughts are really a problem. As they did that we pulled students up to talk with some of them about their ideas to gain a better sense.

After sorting all the cards this weekend you can see the final ideas. Our job now is to figure out how to possibly merge some of them into teams. Where I feel the essential piece in learning will take place is Monday when students have to develop their action plan(see below). Some of the ideas that the students chose are not going to work. I don't want a teacher to tell them. The real learning comes from them realizing it themselves. I don't want to be the one to shortchange their ideas. This is the same philosophy we use with our robotics team. We let the kids choose their path and then help them rebuild their thoughts.

Where we are concerned is how long do we wait for them to realize their ideas might need to be tweaked? More importantly, how do we keep them from giving up because they will have to go through the process again.

#bettpassion Action Template from Aaron Maurer

That is where we are with our #bettpassion project right now. I hope to have all action plans finalized by Thursday to share out with everyone.

In the meantime if you have suggestions, resources, guidance, or any sort of help please let us know. We are learning as we go along as educators. I really feel that we are on to something powerful and will help to bring education to a new level of learning.

Last, don't forget to check out website -

We are slowly getting things loaded up to the site. It will really be rocking when all students develop their blogs next week as well. We are just touching the tip of the iceberg.

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