ideas, Student-centered, Uncategorized

Some Small Ideas That Make a Difference

I love this time of year because my students really hit their stride.  They are confident, they are disciplined, and they love the ownership they have over the rooms.  It allows me to really push their thinking and introduce new things into the room that I think will keep them engaged.

  1. The Video Newsletter – Thanks to Tony Sinanis for this awesome idea!  For the past five weeks my students have been creating video newsletter showcasing what is happening in our room, rather than me writing one.  Students decide what to put in it and how and then film it during class time.  All I do is make sure they didn’t leave something important out and then upload it for them.
  • The Wall of Thinking.  My students have been furiously researching the Revolutionary War in groups and will create something within the next few weeks to show off their knowledge.  Until then, they have been adding post -its to a cabinet door with something amazing they learned.  I have noticed the students reading each other’s post-its and commenting on them as well.  It has been a blast to see their thinking grow.

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  • Resurgence of the “I have noticed…” Post-its.  I did these earlier in the year and then promptly forgot all about them.  This week I am back on track.  The kids need to know we notice how they have grown all through the year.

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  • The Bully Discussions.  If you have not taken the 3 minutes to watch Will Wheaton’s eloquent response to a girl’s question on what to do when people call you a nerd, please watch it.  We read the book “Bully” and then watched the video.  Then students silently reflected on what bullying means to them, how it affects their lives and any other thoughts they had.  I was surprised at how many of them reported having been a bully without even realizing it.
  • Students Teaching the World.  My students have been skyping into classrooms teaching kids and teachers how to do either Mystery Skype or blogging.  I cannot tell you how proud I am of them.  So think of what your students could etach another class and then put it out there.  I love the maturity, discipline, and presentation skills my students have had to showcase while presenting their knowledge.  (If you would like us to teach you, please let me know!).

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  • Planting the Seed for Summer Reading.  It is not too early to think about what incredible books the students will devour during summer, so this week we did the “Mrs. Ripp recommends” book piles on each table.  I pull out as many books as my arms can carry from our library, new and old, place them on the tables and then give students time to peruse.  They have an “I can’t wait to read…” list in their notebooks which they then add to . This 30 minute book extravaganze leade to each students adding at least one new book to their list.

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I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” can be pre-bought now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

7 thoughts on “Some Small Ideas That Make a Difference”

  1. Love this idea and will be doing something like this with my 2nd grade bilingual students as they report the news on class learning for the previous week or upcoming week. Thx for sharing friend.

  2. Pernille, As usual your post has been inspiring! I can’t decide which is my favorite of your ideas here, but I think I will go with the post-it note idea on your cabinet. The part that I really loved was when other students would read the post-it notes and make comments about what they said. This is a great way to introduce/refresh the concept of making positive comments on other’s work!
    Thanks again for a great message…

    1. I love the unintended results such as these, it has been great fun to see what they are learning and also the background knowledge they have now because of the sharing.

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