7 Ways Reflection Gives Students Ownership of their Learning

This blog series was authored by our own A.J. Juliani, Head of Learning & Growth.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes keystone habits as, “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.” Reflection has been one habit that has transformed my life as a teacher, leader, author, and dad.

My day is probably like most of yours. I wake up, drink some coffee, read, write, attempt to work out, get dressed, give the kids and wife a kiss goodbye, head off to work and grab something to eat.

I then spend hours at work in meetings, talking with people, creating, managing, teaching, learning, and eventually get to head home where I’ll play with my kids, go to events, sports practices/games, activities, sometimes out to eat (or a rate date), help put my kids to bed, and then get to spend an hour or two hanging out with my wife thankful the house is quiet for the moment.

Student lives look very similar to adult lives, except they rarely have any choice in what they do. Students are consistently shuttled from one class to another, one spot to another, one event to another. When the day is over, have they even had a minute to think about how each class or event went?

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Why Stickers, Pizza Parties, and Tickets Didn’t Work in My Classroom

This blog series was authored by our own A.J. Juliani, Head of Learning & Growth.

Why Stickers, Pizza Parties, and Tickets Didn’t Work in My Classroom

It was towards the middle of my first year teaching (8th grade) when it hit me: My class was spinning out of control, and it was all my fault.

I was an eager first-year teacher, with an awesome mentor who taught Language Arts with me on the same middle school team. My students were busy writing papers, doing cool projects that we came up with, and reading in literature circles. I was also lucky to have a lot of technology in the classroom early in my career. It was a really good spot to start teaching, and I was messing it all up.

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The Three-Step System For Getting Students to Do the Talking

This blog series was authored by our own A.J. Juliani, Head of Learning & Growth.

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 teacher-talk to student-talk?

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Teaching Character Traits with Perspective

When I first started teaching, I knew that understanding character and character traits would open up the deeper meaning in a story. It would give students the chance to see themselves and others in a different light if I guided them expertly. We could discover the author’s intent or message and this would, well, change our lives. 

Armed with good intent, I asked my sixth-grade students to thoughtfully make a list of the character traits they saw in a partner.  DANGER, Will Robinson! Imagine a room of 11-year-olds attempting this and, of course, it turned into an exercise where students gave compliments to each other. She’s “funny, smart, kind…” and, you get the picture.  We are all funny and smart.

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Real Ways WE Can Help Inspire a Generation of Innovators

This blog series was authored by our own A.J. Juliani, Head of Learning & Growth.

Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 2.46.55 PMIt 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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