Thursday, June 18, 2015

Safe Spot!

YOU  M U S T  have this in your classroom! MUST MUST MUST!!! I’ve seen it in action and it is super helpful, especially if you have a student that requires a little extra attention :). All you need to do is dedicate a small little area in your classroom and make it known that it is the ‘Safe Spot’- students need to feel comfortable going to this area when they are feeling under pressure. Try to make it feel cozy so they will want to go there. It is a wonderful area to have and it actually creates less classroom distractions when a student is having a meltdown.

--xoxo Shellise

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Project Kindness

Bullying is such a HUGE problem in our schools today. As you are all preparing for the upcoming school year, consider participating in Project Kindness! It's so simple! All you need to do is:

1. Dedicate an area of your room such as the classroom door or a bulletin board for your students to go.

2. Supply students with post-it notes.

3. Instruct students to write positive things about their classmates on the post-it notes and stick it on the door or bulletin board.

Easy as 1,2,3! So painless and requires literally no effort!

I saw this idea in a classroom that I was subbing in recently!

--xoxo Shellise

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Clearly PBL’s (Project Based Learning) is a hot topic! This post should give you the low-down on all you need to know!

The Basics:

I did a little research on the must-have’s for a PBL:

  1. ALWAYS have a way to connect it to the REAL WORLD! This should be the basis of your driving question.
  2. Make it practical to learning! You don’t want to waste your time right!?
  3. COLLABORATION, COLLABORATION,COLLABORATION!!!!!!!! Encourage COLLABORATION and STUDENT ENGAGEMENT!! This is soooo crucial and what makes PBL’s so unique! Did I mention COLLABORATION!?
  4. The students are the driver, you’re the passenger!! Let them take charge of their learning!
  5. Multifaceted assessment.

So, lets say you want to teach your students about how horrible global warming is. Instead of creating a slideshow on global warming with a bunch of facts and statistics, you will have students DISCOVER why it is bad and allow them to make their own connections. How so you ask? Well, you will need to first introduce the topic- in this case the environment and any vocabulary or concepts they wouldn’t be familiar with beforehand, without giving too much away- remember we want them to explore all the things we would teach them anyway. After this, they should be well on their way to begin their discovery- but first you should pose a driving question or predicament respective to the topic. Here are some examples of some you could choose for our topic “Global Warming”:
Reverse Global Warming
Create an app to encourage ‘going green’
Become a news reporter and share the impact of global warming
Show the damages that global warming can have in the future
Create an iMovie
The list can go on, and on! Teach Thought gives a good starting point for creating your own PBL.

See the difference?

Points to remember…

For this type of approach to learning, you always want to have an end-goal in mind. What do you want your students to GAIN from participating in the PBL? This is why it is imperative to consistently and actively monitor students as they are researching and forming connections.

Be sure to give students freedom to explore, but always remember your purpose for the PBL.

When assigning students to participate, it may be helpful to create a RUBRIC for students to follow and allow them to know exactly what they are being evaluated on.

JUST DO IT!!!! YES, PBLs can be a little tricky but start small! It isn’t always necessary to do a big, drawn out PBL- save it for those BIG ideas!

Additionally, it is essential to hold students accountable for their contributions to their individual or group PBL. PBLs are meant to be fun, but should also be structured.

Lastly, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! PBLs require a lot of planning, but it is well worth it! While planning, be sure to plan ahead not just for the PBL but for issues that may arise BEFORE you allow the students to participate! BE PROACTIVE!

What are some topics you would have your students do a PBL on?

-xoxo Shellise