Becoming The Change: Putting Our Weaknesses To Some Good Purpose

Guest post by Dan Wolfe

 Becoming The Change  Self-Management  

“I think that it is useless to fight directly against natural weaknesses….in the ordinary course of life one has to know these weaknesses, prudently take them into account, and strive to turn them into good purpose; for they are capable of being put to some good purpose.”

-Simone Weil, Waiting for God

We all have our own weaknesses whether we like to admit it or not. We also often try so hard to improve on these weaknesses and divert our attention away from focusing on our strengths. French philosopher, mystic, and political activist Simone Weil’s quote she reminds us that this struggle to fight and/or improve upon those natural weaknesses is in essence wasted energy in that we are always trying to fix everything about our weaknesses instead of taking it for what it worth and applying things more so towards turning them into a greater purpose. Don’t get me wrong, this would be a complete mind shift in our thinking but something that is necessary for our own personal growth.

Often times it is our weaknesses that are someone else’s strengths and their weaknesses are your strengths. This helps to balance everything. We must keep in mind not to become overly focused on perfection because that is truly an unachievable feat. If we go in with the mindset that any improvement in a weakness shows signs of growth we are able to build on this and use it towards that good purpose that Weil refers to. This good purpose can be building things towards a better community through enhancing our relationships with one another or increasing the communicative needs of the group. Whatever that purpose is can only be enhanced due to using those weaknesses to our advantage. We have this all within our own control if we take the time to draw our attention to it.

What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards managing yourself better?

Becoming The Change: Great Leaders vs Weak Leaders

 Becoming The Change  Relationship Skills  

“Weak leaders have the luxury of looking into themselves. Great leaders have the honor of looking after others.”

-Simon Sinek

Relationships should be built on having people look after others instead of just themselves. That is author, speaker, and podcaster Simon Sinek’s take on the difference between great leaders and weak leaders. Weak leaders that only look after themselves are very self-centered as they are only concerned with what they accomplish and do everything only for their personal gain. On the other hand, great leaders put others before themselves by serving them and their needs. Their acts are selfless. Weak leaders destroy relationships while great leaders build and strengthen them. It’s time we answer our true calling and look after others. It’s the only way we can truly become united in order to sustain and enhance the world we live in.

What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards developing your relationship skills?

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Future-focused: Preparing for 2025 and beyond with iBlocks

In collaboration with iBlocks

In preparing students with the essential skills they need for the future, we have a variety of methods and digital tools to choose from. Starting with methods first is my recommendation because it helps us to focus carefully on our specific learning goals and consider the “why” behind our decisions. We should focus on the skills our students will gain from a particular method or tool and then how these skills align with what they need to be prepared for what lies ahead after they leave our classrooms.

As we look to the future, there are many unknowns when it comes to the world of work. Jobs that exist today may not exist in five years due to changes in technology and automation for example. To stay informed, a resource that I often explore is the World Economic Forum which provides a Job Skills Outlook with a list of the top ten in-demand skills by 2025. Among the top skills cited include active learning, collaboration, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility, critical thinking, problem-solving and ideation. How can we make sure our instruction is relevant to meet the growing demands in the world of work? And how can we help our students to deal with the challenges that might come from a changing world of work and be able to understand their strengths and areas that they need to improve in?

To meet the demand for these skills, we need to provide students with project-based learning (PBL) opportunities which foster the development of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. The five core competencies of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship building, and decision-making are necessary in our classrooms today and are needed in the world of work. To learn more about SEL, explore the many resources available through the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL.org).

Why focus on SEL in PBL?

Because research shows that by addressing the five competencies of SEL in our classrooms, we can positively impact and see an increase in student academic performance. To be successful in the future, students need opportunities that will help them to build SEL skills, especially in the areas of self-awareness and self-management.

Self-awareness: As students work independently during project-based learning, they are becoming aware of their skills and their interests as they explore topics that they are curious about. As they design their PBL focus, they learn to self-assess and evolve as learners.

Self-management: Through project-based learning, students work on setting new goals, and dealing with stress as they work through their project or perhaps problem-based learning journeys. Because PBL is an iterative process, students will see learning as a process, rather than a final product as they develop their own personalized work plan.

With the Job Skills Outlook, developing self-awareness is essential for ideation and innovation. Self-management skills will help students to become resilient, tolerate the stress they experience, and above all, be flexible in learning.

Why start with self-awareness and self-management

When it comes to engaging in PBL, or other work that is focused on student choice and is student-driven, it can be a difficult shift at first for some students. Different than doing just projects, where specific requirements are given and a defined tangible end product is created, with PBL, students have to design their learning journey. By doing this, it can lead students to experience some stress and frustration because it is so open-ended and requires an ongoing iterative process. As students are trying to solve a problem or dealing with failure, they need to be able to process emotions, set goals, and push through the challenges faced. Students will engage in trial and error, testing and re-testing, and at times, may find that they cannot find a specific solution to a problem. When this happens, being able to deal with these stressors and work through them by setting new goals will be essential for students now and in their future. This is why SEL matters and starting with a focus on self-awareness and self-management is key.

Promoting SEL through iBlocks

I recently met the folks and Teq and have been researching their iBlocks solution for PBL. I think it provides a good structure for students to work through projects and supports the development of SEL skills in some specific ways.

With iBlocks, students are working on authentic projects and with the resources provided, they will develop skills of self-awareness and self-management. Students have a student workbook that is used as they work through each module of the iBlock. What is the most helpful for students is that they have a space where they can really think through what they are learning and reflect on the experience they are having.

As they work through the research and planning phase, they can respond to the questions and capture their ideas in a space where they can reflect on them, evaluate them, set goals for themselves, and have the support of pacing. It is so beneficial for students to have that structured support available that they can use.

The right student resources

When focusing on self-awareness, students need to understand where they are in the learning process. They need to be able to process their learning and ask:

What are some of the things that they know and can do?

What are some areas that may be confusing to them?

What do they notice about how they learn?

With iBlocks, the use of the student self-assessment rubric helps students to develop their skills of self-awareness by recording and reflecting on their iBlock work. Having the space and a system in place that guides students along the way, will help them to become more aware as they learn and develop confidence in the process as well.

With self-management, being able to tackle a big project or work through a challenge are skills that students need in our classes now. And for those skills for the future, stress tolerance, dealing with frustration, and being flexible in learning are all important. By using the self-assessment in their student workbook, it takes away some of that pressure for students of having to figure it out on their own. The student workbook helps them plan how much time to devote to their work, reflect on the progress they are making, and the next steps that will lead them to be successful in completing the work.

The student materials help teachers to facilitate rather than lead the learning. The workbook helps students to stay on track and be accountable to themselves in setting goals and working through challenges. They will better understand where they are in the learning process and what next steps they need to take.

The student workbook and iBlocks modules provide students with a structure that enables them to work with complex topics but in a way that builds their skills over time and at a good pace so that they can learn as well as build those self-awareness and self-management skills.

Learning to process thoughts and emotions

As students are working through their project-based learning, they have prompts throughout their workbook (and provided by the teacher as needed) that will require them to assess their own performance. They will be accountable to themselves and have a space where they can write down any of the challenges that they are facing in the work. They can even brainstorm ideas for how to work through those challenges and overcome them. As a result, they will build resilience and be better prepared for the next PBL experience and will continue to build those skills over time.

As students work through a project, they have the space and support to reflect on their learning, to evaluate where they are in the learning process, and learn to manage their emotions as they are working through the challenges of PBL.

As educators, we should continue to ask ourselves these questions:

  • How can we create opportunities for students to drive their own learning?
  • What options will provide a more interactive and collaborative experience, regardless of where learning is taking place?
  • How do we weave SEL into our classroom and boost student engagement in learning?
  • Which methods will provide students with the right skill development?

With the different iBlocks available, students engage in purposeful learning and figure out how to solve some of the challenges being faced by people in the world. With each iBlock, teachers receive a Framework, Teacher’s Guide, Student Workbooks, and more. There are issues being faced that have been researched for many years and still are without a solution. Our students can explore any area of interest and become innovators and problem solvers. They will learn about working as part of a team, pushing through failures, and engaging in hands-on STEM learning.

With the knowledge that students will gain through their experiences, they will have developed skills that will enable them to adapt to a changing world of education and work.

To get started, there are three sample iBlocks available to download: Rube Goldberg, Design a Comic Book, and Prosthetics iBlocks.

SEL Skill

Example PBL activities to Support SEL Skill Development

iBlocks-Specific Support for this SEL Skill Development

Self-Awareness

  • Career exploration based on interests
  • Independent work
  • Student voice and choice
  • Self-assessment
  • Defined learning pathways to select from that cover real-world projects
  • Place for students to record work and reflect on the learning process
  • Student self-assessment rubric
  • Workbook sections dedicated to asking questions and revising work

Self Management

  • Students design their learning journey
  • Iterate through a learning process
  • Goal setting
  • Scaffolded questions to support personal goals within the student workbook
  • Progress tracking charts/tables to maximize learning during the allotted time
  • Peer review and other collaborative activities within lesson plans that give an opportunity for students to recognize differences in opinion and respect others’ opinions
  • Teacher tips to support students with compromising during collaborative work (i.e. collaborative brainstorming)

About the Author

Rachelle Dené is a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and serves as the past president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She is the author of sevens books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World”, “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us,” “Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-person and Digital Instruction” and “Things I Wish [..] Knew.” All books are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915

Rachelle is available for in-person and virtual PD sessions for your school.

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

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Author

Rachelle Dené is a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and serves as the past president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She is the author of sevens books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World”, “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us,” “Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-person and Digital Instruction” and “Things I Wish [..] Knew.” All books are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915

Everyone Needs a Throwing Partner

Guest post by laura steinbrink, posted on her blog site Rockntheboat

If you have ever played organized baseball or softball, at any level, chances are that you have gone through a warmup or drill of some sort that required you to throw the ball to another player. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you are aware that I have a son who is very active athletically, particularly in the sport of baseball, which is where I came up with the idea for this post.

My son Ryan plays travel baseball and high school baseball, and he is fortunate to get to play both of those with his cousin Hayden. They are three weeks apart in age, so they naturally get to do a lot of things together. However, having the same throwing partner for both the travel team and the high school team is pretty cool. In case you haven’t thought of this before, your throwing partner is important, so having the right one is crucial. I know, some of you are thinking that I should be saying my son should be open to throwing with anyone. Sure, and he is, but to get the most out of the warm-up consistently, throwing partners should be very similar in skill and ability. An occasional switch-up happens, but I’ve watched a lot of baseball and coached and watched a lot of softball, and most players prefer to use the same throwing partner every time, just like my son.

There are definite benefits to having a good and consistent throwing partner that correlate to education. Here are three key benefits:

  1. Similar skill and ability mean that you spend less time chasing badly thrown balls. Paring an experienced player with an inexperienced player in the throwing warmup may sound good on the surface, but a lot of frustration and embarrassment ensue when this happens. In education, the badly thrown balls can represent bad advice, redundant policies, activities, or practices. On the flipside, badly thrown balls can also be like advice or practices that seem totally out of reach by the more inexperienced teacher.
  2. Your throwing partner, by catching or attempting to catch what you throw to them, helps you see what adjustments need to be made so that you can throw it back at them with the accuracy and speed needed for them to be able to catch the ball. Or in educational terms, a good throwing partner can help you see what adjustments are needed for your strategy, activity, policy change, etc. big idea.
  3. Not only does your throwing partner catch what you throw, but they also, providing you have a good teammate, forgive your wild throws and missed opportunities to catch the ball each and every time. A good educational throwing partner will even retrieve bad or wild throws without making you feel bad about it. This is a much-needed skill today. We have all had a lesson go awry, so it’s nice to have a partner who will help you go get the ball so you can start throwing again.

So there’s my quick educational baseball analogy to help us all get ready for the new school year. Whether you have already started, are about to start back, or still have some time left before the school year officially begins, you need to consider someone in your building or district who could be your throwing partner. I a have local throwing partner and various ones in my expanded professional learning network (PLN) that can catch what I throw at them, will help me retrieve errant throws, and never make me feel bad about it. A partner can also make the experience more enjoyable. Do you have a throwing partner?

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

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How to Create Engaging ESOL Lessons in Four Easy Steps

Guest post by Allie Beldin, @AllieBeldin

There are several considerations when creating an engaging ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages, lesson. Just as we need specific ingredients and routines to cook a delicious meal, an ESOL lesson requires unique components to provide opportunities for English Language Learners to flourish! Luckily, this recipe only requires four steps and a few ingredients.

You will need:

Using WIDA’s four language domains, reading, listening, writing, and speaking, this online module activity creates opportunities for students to learn English while engaging in culturally-relevant conversations. As the activities spark conversation, they also support core content-specific standards.

4 Steps to Create An Engaging ESOL Lesson

Step 1Collaboration

If you are an ESOL teacher, email or meet with students’ core-content teachers so that you can find content-specific paragraphs to use for your writing, reading, listening, and speaking activity prompts. An efficient way to share and receive resources with core-content area teachers is to utilize a Google shared drive or collaborative folder to quickly send documents. By using informational text from teachers, students will be working on their English skills while also receiving core-content supports.

Step 2Language Supports
Next, decide which activities would benefit from read-aloud buttons. Read-aloud buttons are used in this activity to provide English and non-English audio clips to support students struggling to understand the text.

To create an English-speaking audio button for a listening activity: Use the free voice recorder website to record any prompts. Download the audio file, then upload the file to your Google Drive. IMPORTANT! Do not forget to change the share settings on the audio file to anyone with the link can view! If you skip this step, then the audio buttons will not work.

To create an audio button in a student’s first language: go to Google Translate, then type the writing prompt into the window. After you have typed your prompt, click record on your free voice recorder website, then play the audio button so that the computer begins speaking the translated message. While Google translate may have some translation errors, it still provides additional support if students are struggling to make connections from their first language to English.

Step 3Brain Breaks
Find games for brain breaks to practice skills! I normally find content-specific games from Quizziz!

Step 4Share with Students
Once you have finished typing the activities on the Google slides template, share the presentation on Google Classroom or your chosen learning management system.

How are you creating ESOL lessons? Please reach out! I would love to collaborate.
A special shoutout to SlidesMania for always being my go-to for creating presentations and to Dr. Stacie Pettit for her mentorship during my ESOL certification process.
To use the free ESOL lessons template, please first log in to your Google account, then click here! Once you click on the click, it will ask you to make a copy. The copy will then be added to your Google Drive.

About the Author

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, and Speaker. Rachelle is the author of seven books about education and edtech and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join my weekly show on Mondays and Fridays at 6pm or 6:30 pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here

Preparing for the Future with Emerging Technologies

M prior post on Defined Learning

The world is constantly changing which means that in our work as educators, we need to continue to push ourselves to learn about the innovations happening in the world. We are in the position to help students to build skills in the right areas so that they will be ready for whatever the future brings. Beyond teaching our specific content area and bringing in a variety of content-specific learning methods and resources, we have to embrace opportunities to do more by adding in experiences that enable us all to keep up with and perhaps even get ahead of some of the changes that we are seeing in the world.

So what are the skills that students need? We’ve heard about the essential 21st-century skills for many years. Well into the 21st century, now we have to focus on the skills of transfer that promote flexibility when it comes to career opportunities. A great resource to learn more and stay informed is the job skills outlook provided by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

According to the World Economic Forum, among the top skills sought in the world of work are collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving. There are many ways to help students to develop these skills in our classrooms and which rely on simple methods like PBL or STEM-related activities. Also to be considered are the five core competencies of social-emotional learning (SEL) which are directly related to 21st-century skills and the WEF outlook. The areas of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship building, and decision-making are vital to student success and equally as important for us as educators and adults.

Emerging Trends and Technologies

Over the past two years, we have seen a big shift to relying on technology not just for education, but also for work. Schools, businesses, and organizations have relied on technologies to keep moving forward. Schools experienced fully virtual and hybrid learning for several years and students, teachers, and families had to learn and adapt quickly. Companies relied on remote work and for many, there are jobs that are now being done fully remote, which means that our students need to know how to interact in the virtual space and how to complete tasks, use technology, communicate, and more, as they prepare for the future, whether that involves college or career.

Whether or not we think that we can bring these emerging technologies into our classrooms, we all can. Because of the way that some of these technologies are being used now and are predicted to be used in the future, educators are in the best place to help students prepare. Some of the examples include things like the use of artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and blockchain. While we may be more used to and familiar with some of these, for many educators these concepts may be quite new. It takes time to build skills in these areas and understand what their impact may be on our personal and professional lives, but there are a lot of resources out there to explore and ways that we can help students to learn about them while connecting it to the content we are teaching.

We know there is an increased need for STEM-related skills as it has been predicted there will be 58 million STEM-related jobs available by 2025. In particular, according to the Jobs of Tomorrow report, some areas such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud computing, and cybersecurity will see an increased demand for skilled workers. An article from the World Economic Forum referred to a “reckoning for skills” and discussed how certain skills will be essential as 1 billion jobs will be transformed by technology over the next 10 years. Another resource that I read recently came from the “Learn to Code” website which had a list of 18 tech skills that are in demand now and recommended that everyone should learn. Artificial intelligence was number one on the list. Following AI, was machine learning, data science, data analytics, and data visualization making up the top five. Additional needs included cybersecurity and STEM-related fields. Because of this growing need and lack of qualified people to fill those positions as of today, we need to do more to prepare our students not just for these potential careers but others that will continue to be created as technology evolves and transforms how we live, learn, and work. How can we start today?

Getting Started

There are many options available for educators to choose from, some of which are free and some that come at a cost, but either way, many do not require a lot of time to get started. Here are seven options, some of which are organizations that offer individual lessons or an entire K through 12 curriculum which provides educators with the resources and support they need to get started in some of these “in-demand” areas.

  • AIClub offers resources for students ages 8 and up to learn about artificial intelligence and AI-related topics. There are free activities available for students to interact with AI and develop their own understanding of what AI is. AIClub also has lessons and sample projects created by students to explore.
  • ASU Crash Course Data Literacy offers a 15 video series for educators and students to learn about data literacy, an important topic for students to understand with so much data in our everyday lives. Using a course like this helps to promote student independence in learning by providing them with the opportunity to decide their pace and path as they work through the concepts related to data literacy.
  • Google AI Experiments offers a lot of interesting experiments based on AI and machine learning that students can interact with. Students also can create their own experiments and submit them to Google for possible inclusion on the site. There are also experiments to learn more about augmented and virtual reality and some based on areas like art, music, and more.
  • ISTE’s AI and STEM Explorations Network has four free hands-on AI project guides for the classroom which are available for download from ISTE and GM. I helped to design a lesson on the use of AI via translators in language classrooms. The guides are available in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Included in their guides are lessons for electives which brings in options for courses in STEM and Language classes.
  • Khan Academy offers online courses on a variety of topics related to STEM, coding, data science, and more. The courses include practice activities and videos and have materials for use with younger students through high school and college.
  • Microsoft AI for Good offers many resources for educators or anybody to look at how artificial intelligence is being used and to also better prepare teachers. Microsoft also has Hacking STEM which provides many additional resources for teaching about STEM in any classroom.
  • Nearpod: An interactive multimedia learning platform that provides a quick way for educators to get started with lessons focused on artificial intelligence, coding, cryptocurrency, STEM topics, understanding computers, and more. There are thousands of lessons to download that can include 3D objects for students to explore and VR field trips powered by 360 cities.

About the Author

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, and Speaker. Rachelle is the author of seven books about education and edtech and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join my weekly show on Mondays and Fridays at 6pm or 6:30 pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here

While we have many methods and digital tools or even virtual spaces to explore, we must remember to always focus on the “why” behind the choices we make. There are great benefits through the use of digital tools to enable us to connect with one another, to access new learning experiences, to keep learning and the world of work going. When we can choose and leverage the right methods and digital tools, we foster collaboration, communication, and creativity which are some of the essential skills our students need now and in the future.

When students have opportunities to engage in more student-driven, hands-on learning, it makes their experiences more authentic and meaningful. We help to move them from consumers to creators and empower them to lead the way when it comes to learning about these emerging technologies. Through these opportunities, students will be better equipped to develop the skills that will enable them to adapt to a changing landscape of work and life.

About the Author

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, Speaker and Instructional Technology Coach. Rachelle is the Author of seven books about education and edtech and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915.

Spark curiosity in learning with a classroom escape room!

Prior post for NEO

Looking for a new activity to challenge students to learn in a new way?  Students spend so much of their school day sitting in their seats with few opportunities to move and interact with their classmates. However, there are many different methods that we can bring into our classroom to get students up and moving and more importantly, collaborating. 

In my own practice, I’ve found that working together with students sparks innovative and more meaningful ways to build their content area knowledge and essential skills. Since students spend so much time in classrooms, why not plan a quick “escape” to inspire curiosity for learning and engage students?

The classroom escape room: when you need something different!

Escape rooms or digital or physical breakouts are a favorite for many students and teachers. Whether created simply using paper and other hands-on materials or with different digital tools, they help students build their skills in many different areas. 

In its essence, an escape room requires that the players escape from some type of a scenario or situation. Teachers typically create a theme to hook students in. The purpose is to engage students in learning, making connections to the content area, while boosting student engagement. The theme also creates excitement for learning! 

I think these activities would be great for giving students a chance to work on some of the content that might be more complex or that would benefit from repetition and the development of their leadership skills. We definitely want students to build their collaboration and social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. Escape room activities encourage them to work together towards a common goal, even if sometimes they don’t realize it. When I first did a breakout, it was a way to review for midterm exams. Students loved being able to get up and talk with each other. It led to a far better review experience than the other methods that were available to me.



How escape and breakout rooms can benefit students

The goal behind the breakout or escape room challenge is to have students typically in a race against time. Most often they enjoy the game-based learning aspect and want to be the first one to complete it or to escape. Here are some other benefits:

Suitable for any grade level and content area

Methods like these can be really effective because they can be used with any grade level and content area. For teachers concerned about the amount of time that it might take to create one of their own, there are enough resources out there to get started that don’t require much time at all. The idea is to simply start with a ready-to-use one and let it be a guide to create your own. Depending on the age of your students, have students create an escape room for their classmates!

Build SEL skills 

Each of the five core SEL competencies is addressed. Beyond building content knowledge, students will build essential SEL skills. As they work through the problems, they are learning and building self-awareness. The frustration that they might experience working through the challenges helps them with self-management. Depending on the topic, they can build social awareness through the content that they’re exploring, discussions that they’re having, or what they’re learning from their peers. 

Create meaningful classroom relationships

Escape rooms build relationships as students work together to break out.  Additionally, throughout the whole experience, they’re making decisions, building resilience, and persist whenever the solutions are not working. Students walk away with excitement about what they have learned in an immersive and engaging learning experience. 

How to build a classroom escape room to spark curiosity in learning_Rachelle Dene Poth classroom

Escape room activity in the classroom. Credit: Rachelle Dene Poth

How to get started with classroom escape rooms

Teachers can create escape rooms in many different ways, such as: 

1. Breakout kits 

For example, the Breakout EDU boxes come as a full kit that has a variety of locks, hint cards, and more. It requires students to work through problems or puzzles and break out. There are many free resources available for educators to get started with that just require the box and thinking about a theme or using some of the many choices available for different subject areas and grade levels. 

2. Virtual breakouts

For virtual learning, there are also digital breakouts that can be completed in or out of the classroom in small groups using meeting spaces like Zoom or Microsoft Teams breakout rooms. Students will follow the clues and collaborate with their peers to figure out how to solve the problem that will get them to move on to other puzzles and clues. 

3. Escape rooms using Google 

You can create a Google Site to house all of the relevant content for the breakout. This means that you can embed a Google form. Alternatively, you can use physical other clues on paper and create a Google Form for the locks and letter combinations. Google Forms are great for your breakouts because they are easy to set up and free to create. You simply create your clues and then decide on number locks, letter combinations and make sure you set response validation so students know if they are correct. You can even add a congratulatory message for when they escape! Check out this tutorial created by a student. Regardless of which you choose, students will enjoy the experience. 

How to build a classroom escape room to spark curiosity in learning_Rachelle Dene Poth_Google form

Create classroom escape activities with the help of Google Forms.

4. Add special clues 

Your clues can be puzzles, riddles, word scrambles, or hints hidden in a website. It can also be writing that generates a code or word to move on to the next clue. Start small and create four or five clues and have students work in small groups of three-four. 

Escape rooms can be done at a small scale using paper, mystery envelopes and props placed around the classroom. If time permits, you can create a fully transformed classroom to draw students into the experience.

How to build a classroom escape room to spark curiosity in learning_Rachelle Dene Poth_Google forms locks

Planning the classroom escape room experience 

Here are some steps to help you plan your escape room: 

  1. Identify the learning objectives or specific skills that you want students to master. What are some questions you might ask?
  2. Decide on a theme to boost engagement. There are a lot of fun themes that you can use depending on what you teach. Is it a period in history, a setting in a book that students are reading, a specific location, a mystery, or something entirely made up? 
  3. Choose the “how. Will it start via a mystery letter describing the scenario and listing the clues? Maybe someone delivers a box to your classroom? Do you have a Breakout box to pique their interest? Do you need pictures and props in the room? Has your classroom undergone a makeover to represent the theme? Or is it all done through Google Forms? Find what works best for you and your students. 
  4. Figure out how many clues you need. What are the props you might need in the classroom? How will you set up the locks in the box (or online)? Remember that students need to solve a clue to unlock and get to the next clue. Connect the content to the clue and push their problem-solving and collaborative skills. Depending on the specific scenario, we will engage students in more authentic and meaningful learning opportunities.  
  5. If you add in a time challenge, students will build their time management skills. It helps them solve problems, be creative and learn to work under pressure as they complete the challenges.

Building a classroom escape room

As we prepare students for the future, we have to think about essential skills that will be needed in the workplace, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork, problem solving and innovation. Using different methods like escape rooms can help us provide various experiences for students that spark curiosity and engage them in interactive learning. 

While students might have to overcome obstacles and experience failure whenever their solutions don’t work, they’re doing it with the support of their group!

For more articles see my posts for NEO at: Rachelle Dene Poth

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Teacher at Riverview Junior/Senior High in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and the Author of seven books about education and edtech. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @rdene915

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join my weekly show on Mondays and Fridays at 6pm or 6:30 pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here

Preparing for back-to-school procedures

In collaboration with Pikmykid

As educators prepare to head back into their classrooms, there are many areas that we need to focus on. Most important, is getting to know our students and their families. Building supportive relationships that help families and students feel comfortable and safe in our schools is essential. Being able to connect with the members of the school community in a timely and consistent manner is important. At the start of the school year, there needs to be a greater focus on procedures and communicating this information to families in a reliable and streamlined way.

Procedures regarding student transportation, sharing information about changes in the school schedule, and knowing how to communicate efficiently when there is an emergency or time-sensitive event. With the right platform, parents, teachers, administrators, the school community, and even students will feel more comfortable and secure in our schools. The procedures and tools that are in place will provide a safe, secure, and supportive connection between home and school as students are placed in our care during the school day.

School schedules and important information

There are always adjustments that teachers and families face at the start of every school year. One of the biggest is with transportation and in particular, school dismissals. Figuring out when and where to drop off and pick up students, how the timing works, and if there will be any delays can be a challenge. Depending on the school community and the surrounding area, with many cars and buses, it can be dangerous for students. Whether students are walking to specific pickup spots or waiting close to the streets for rides to or from school, making sure they are safe is key but can be tough to manage. However, with an option like Pikmykid, families and the school staff are able to keep track of when students arrive and when they need to be dismissed. Pikmykid also offers different ways to provide information to parents.

In my school district and other similar small school systems, many students may walk home from school while others are waiting for a ride or for the bus. Some students may stay after school to participate in activities or work with teachers. Without anything in place, it is hard to know where students are and when and if they have left school and safely returned how. Knowing where students are and when they have been safely picked up and returned home, is critical. Having school dismissal software enables teachers and families to work together to make sure that students are arriving and leaving school safely. More than that, it provides a way for schools to share information in addition to totally streamlining the process of school dismissal.

The challenge of dismissals

Rather than sending students to school with a note and papers getting lost in the shuffle, parents are quickly able to share plans for transportation using the school dismissal software. They can schedule the pickup and make quick updates using their app rather than sending an email, writing a note or calling the school. Using the app eliminates the extra time and other steps or applications that might be used instead. It also fosters real-time communication, making it more efficient and secure. Teachers know where the parents are and when the students have been safely connected with them.

The benefits

  • The use of one comprehensive platform saves time because you know exactly when parents are arriving and students have been picked up.
  • It provides more opportunities for teachers to work with students and have more instructional time available.
  • It can be managed from within one space, where real-time communication can happen and changes can be made quickly without losing time by calling the office.
  • It helps in the event of any type of emergency situation. Being able to send a message directly to parents without needing to make a phone call, or call the office, makes a difference.
  • School staff and administrators are in better able to keep records of notifications, dismissals, parental communication, and student information including absences.
  • With features like a silent alarm, teachers can alert first responders without the use of loud alarms or causing extra panic in an emergency situation.

All-in-one

The Pikmykid platform enables multi-channel communication which means messages can be sent through email, text, or voice message. Families can choose based on their preferences. As students leave, their information is reported directly into the dashboard and is available within the parent app. Pikmykid is browser-based which means you don’t need to have any specific software installed or any other types of devices made available.

Think about times during the school year when students have needed to be dismissed from your class or any class. Loud announcements are made that interrupt classes, phone calls coming in, or emails that may be missed. All of these impact instructional time, cause unnecessary delay, and can definitely lead to concern. For parents, waiting for their children at the end of the school day, or not knowing that students may be delayed in leaving class, for example, can cause worry. Having a tool that meets the specific needs and interests of all members of the school community makes a difference. Especially today when we know that our school days may be impacted by events happening in the world or just within our own schools, we need to rely on effective tools. Parent and family engagement increases with the use of a platform like Pi​k​mykid because they are connected with what is happening in the school and informed in the event of emergencies. As we see different needs in our schools when it comes to information and connecting with families, having reliable communication tools that enable us to be flexible in what we provide is key.

Building relationships and having a consistent, unified, real-time way to communicate with families is essential for our schools. While some schools may choose to use a variety of tools to help with arrival and dismissal, tracking student absences, sending information, or notifying about emergencies, everything is made available within the Pikmykid platform.

About the Author

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, and Speaker. Rachelle is the author of seven books about education and edtech and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join my weekly show on Mondays and Fridays at 6pm or 6:30 pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here

About the Author

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, and Speaker. Rachelle is the author of seven books about education and edtech and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join my weekly show on Mondays and Fridays at 6pm or 6:30 pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here

Extra notes

With Pikmykid, there are alerts that can be personalized based on a school’s needs. They have 15 options

It promotes social-emotional learning skills as well, or physical and mental well-being with the check-ins within the app. There are questionnaires that are customizable that can be used to find out how students are doing, and have that information available to communicate between home and school.

It integrates with tools like class link, clever, and more which makes it an even better choice because it fits with tools that schools are already using.

Especially at the start of the school year, teachers want to have as much time as they can to get to know the students and to make sure that they are providing

Bringing PBL to Every Classroom

In collaboration with iBlocks, All opinions are my own

A new school year is the perfect time to try out different methods and tools that can amplify student learning and foster the development of essential skills. Project-based learning is a method that educators should definitely try in their classrooms because of all of the benefits it offers. According to the PBL Works of the Buck Institute for Education, PBL is “a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects.” Different from traditional projects, PBL is an iterative process that requires reflection and continued goal-setting. It helps students to become more independent learners and to develop a greater motivation for learning.

When students engage in PBL, they begin to shift their focus from an end product of learning, to the process of learning itself. PBL is also a great option for addressing the 4 C’s of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. These are the skills that students need to be successful now and in the future.

As educators, we’ve all had our students do projects, but there is a big difference between this and PBL. Years ago, I thought that my students were doing PBL, however, they were only doing projects, in a very linear and finite learning experience. It was all about the end product and did not offer students the chance to build their skills and appreciate the process of learning itself. Different than traditional projects, authentic PBL will promote curiosity, facilitate student-driven independent learning, and enable them to develop the skills to work through and reflect on the productive struggle that can come through these learning experiences.

Finding time for PBL

PBL can be woven into our everyday curriculum. We can start small and gradually progress through a PBL experience. What we want is for the experience to be authentic, purposeful and relevant for our students. When they see the relevance and applicability of their work to the real world, it boosts their engagement and motivates them because it is more meaningful. Authentic PBL will have a positive impact on their learning experience.

We have so many different tasks in the work that we do and finding extra time can be a challenge. However, there are resources available for educators to use that make it less time-consuming and easier to bring PBL to their classrooms.

Getting started is easy with iBlocks

iBlocks provides teachers with everything they need to get started with PBL and STEM lessons in their classroom in a way that amplifies student choice and voice in learning. Teachers shift from being the sole creators of content and give students the opportunity to become leaders in the classroom and design their own learning experiences.

With iBlocks, there are so many choices available in content, especially in areas where we want students to build skills in understanding global issues, by looking at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. With the different iBlocks available, students engage in purposeful learning and figure out how to solve some of the challenges being faced by people in the world.

The modules are student-led and teacher guided. The focus is on students demonstrating mastery in learning as they go through the process of self-assessing, collaborating with peers, and receiving ongoing support from their teacher. As they work through the modules, their comfort and confidence builds and they become more engaged in their project.

Deciding where to begin

Think about a topic that you cover and find an iBlock to use as an enrichment opportunity or dive into bringing STEM to your classroom. Either way, iBlocks provides you with all of the content that you need to be able to effectively implement PBL and design thinking in the classroom.

Each iBlock comes with:

  • A teacher’s guide that includes everything educators need to be able to facilitate the use of iBlocks with students. It also includes what the student workbook has so that teachers have guidance and tips to use as students work through the modules.
  • Workbooks for students which provide them with a space of their own, and guides them as they work through each module of the iBlock. Giving students a space where they can identify challenges, process their thoughts, ideate solutions and then reflect is so important for their learning.
  • Assessment materials for students to gauge understanding and develop SEL as they become self-aware and work on self-management skills during their project.
  • Lesson plans that include detailed descriptions, activities for the classroom, the expected outcomes from the lesson and more.
  • A Skills Matrix, which give the structure, the goals and the outcomes. The framework that is used offers all of the skills detailed in the Matrix

It is a 10-part sequence that ends in a Capstone project, which helps students to focus on the learning process they’ve been involved in rather than one finite experience like a traditional project. There are so many different topics involved in the experiential learning for students. It will foster Innovation, creativity and curiosity from learning

iBlocks is different

For teachers who want to dive in, they can. All it takes is a quick review of the materials and you can get right away. iBlocks offers an “out-of-the-box” experience in that it simply requires taking the materials out of the box to get started in the classroom.

One of my favorite iBlocks is the Rube Goldberg machine. There are so many benefits to having resources like this because it takes away a lot of the frustration and nervousness that can come with implementing a new method or trying a new tool. Everything we need is within the iBlock! If you take a look at all of the options available a great choice is applicable to ​STEM and ​STEM- related fields, and many will spark curiosity for learning and be really authentic meaningful, and engaging ​learning experiences for students.

Embracing the risk-taking and learning journey

If you have not implemented PBL into your classroom yet, then the start of the year is the perfect time to dive in. Don’t worry about being an expert. We must be willing to try, to fail, to learn from our mistakes and to try again. It can be uncomfortable at first, but it sets a good model for our students and helps us to continue to grow in our practice.

For teachers who are considering PBL but may be a bit hesitant because it seems like involves a lot to get started, that’s where iBlocks makes a difference. With iBlocks, teachers will realize that PBL is something they can start with in their classroom without having to worry about so many variables. It is important to take time to talk about PBL with students, find out what their interests are and then dive in together in a new learning experience. It may feel like a challenge, but that is okay because the benefits are great and it will spark curiosity and creativity in learning.

About the Author

Rachelle Dené is a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and serves as the past president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She is the author of sevens books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World”, “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us,” “Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-person and Digital Instruction” and “Things I Wish [..] Knew.” All books are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915

Rachelle is available for in-person and virtual PD sessions for your school.

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join my weekly show on Mondays and Fridays at 6pm or 6:30 pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here

How to Motivate Student Practice with Mystery Pixel Art

Guest post by Allie Beldin @Alliebeldin

Let me start off by saying when I tried this activity with my students this past week, they have been asking me every day to give them MORE Math practice… I thought I was dreaming. I heard that using pixel art motivates students to practice their skills, but I did not realize how quickly it worked. I tried this activity with my remote and in-person sixth-grade Math students and realized that this was an activity that could also be used for skill differentiation and classroom management. You will need to log in to your Google account and go to Google Sheets to see how this works. The free template can be found at the end of this post. See what the activity looks like in action in the video below!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/aepRWBEPr1g?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparentHow It Works

For a differentiated activity, create a Google sheet with three tabs at the bottom. Label each tab “level 1,” “level 2,” and “EXPERT level”. Students will want to find the mystery picture for each level to reach expert level.

To help with your classroom management, tell your students that each week you will be picking a student of the week. When they complete the pixel art activity, you could use the student of the week’s name as the mystery picture!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/pP4V3w6c1eo?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparentHow to Add Your Own Questions to the Template

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zj7D94PNSl0?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparentHow to Change the Mystery Picture on the Template

If you want to create your very own mystery pixel art activity from scratch in less than ten minutes, watch the video below. Before learning how to create this activity, I had hardly any experience with conditional formatting on sheets. At first, I thought making this activity would be too overwhelming, but I quickly realized you only had to know use one “formula” on Google Sheets.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/yIuVBCQbKFo?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparentHow to Create This Activity from SCRATCH

Do not forget when you are adding your own questions and you are using words as answers you will have to put quotations around the words in the formula. If your answer is just a number, you will not have to use quotations in the formula.

If you would like the free template for this activity click here!

Have you made any mystery pixel art for your students? Show me what you have made! I would love to see what you have made!

@ALLIEBELDIN

Helping students to demonstrate learning in more than one way

Updated prior post on NEO

As educators, we must provide a variety of options for students to develop their content area knowledge and skills in ways that meet their interests and needs. When choosing methods and tools to use, it is also important to create opportunities for students to develop social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, as they are essential for personal and professional growth.


Read more: Fostering the development of SEL skills in your classroom


Our decisions need to focus on helping students by designing assessments and ways to show what they have learned while also promoting voice and choice in learning. Depending on the types of methods and tools we use for our assessments, they must help students identify where they are on their learning journey and provide us with evidence of student learning that we can use to further give feedback and additional resources for our students.

Some questions to consider when deciding on methods or tools can be:

  • How can we promote more interactive and collaborative experiences for students?
  • Which tools assist us by providing access to real-time feedback?
  • What are some ways to promote more student choice in learning?

In addition to the traditional homework assignments, projects, and tests that we use to determine where students are in the learning process, we have access to more tools and methods than ever before.

For several years, I have enjoyed doing project-based learning (PBL) with my students and recently learned about Tract (use code RACHELLE to try), which offers so much for educators and students exploring PBL in their classrooms.


Read more: 10 DOs and DON’Ts in Project-Based Learning
I recommended PBL often during the past school year, as it could withstand transitions between learning spaces. As educators had to seek new ways to assess students and provide opportunities for them to share what they were learning, ask questions, interact, and feel connected to a classroom community, many sought digital tools. Technology has provided many options for learning and enables educators to find something that meets each student’s needs and interests, and sometimes even their comfort level.

It is important to convey to students why we choose a certain method or digital tool for use in our classroom, and doing this helps us stay focused on our purpose. Consider how the method or tool will enhance learning or provide more benefits for students beyond being a way to practice the content or take an assessment.

5 Ways that edtech can help students to demonstrate learning

The use of digital tools promotes collaboration, communication, creativity, and many more essential skills while also boosting student engagement in learning as they have the power of choice in how to share what they have learned.

Here are five ways for students to demonstrate learning.

  1. Blogging has been effective in my Spanish classes for years. The digital tools available make it easier for students to have a space to build their writing skills as they share ideas with their teacher and possibly their peers. Having students engage in blog writing also helps promote the development of digital citizenship skills, especially if they have the opportunity to respond to classmates and provide feedback. One option that has been great to try with my students is Spaces. Using Spaces promotes communication and collaboration between teacher and student, or it can also be between students and include audio. Read more: Digital reflection tools your students can use in class
  2. Data visualization. being able to process information and create a representation of new concepts helps students better retain what they have learned. For visual learners, using tools to create a concept map or an infographic can help process a lot of information. With tools like Canva or Piktochart, students can choose from templates available to help them get started with designing an infographic. These tools and others alike promote critical thinking skills and creativity as students decide how to best illustrate what they have learned. There are also options for students who prefer not to use technology, such as drawing a concept map or creating a sketchnote to capture what has been learned.
  3. Digital storytelling. Whether at the beginning of a new unit or at the end, having students create something using one of the many available digital tools will help them share their learning in authentic and meaningful ways. For example, you can opt for the many uses of digital storytelling or encourage them to make a video. My students enjoy using tools that offer multimedia options and libraries full of choices in characters, backgrounds, animations, and more to tell their stories. Some of our favorites include BunceeBook CreatorGenially, and Story Jumper. With several of these, students can even work together to create a presentation or a book to share with classmates. Read more: 6 Digital storytelling tools for hybrid learning environments
  4. Game-based assessments. You can encourage practice and be able to provide feedback and more targeted lessons by using some of the digital tools available to do a pulse-check for where students are in the learning process. We can implement some hands-on games through flashcards, gestures, conversations, or leverage game-based learning tools, such as BlooketGimkitKahoot!Quizizz, and Quizlet Live!. Each of these tools offers a variety of question types or modes of play that will connect students with the content and provide us with real-time data to help plan our next steps and give meaningful feedback to our students. Read more: 5 Awesome online tools for game-based learning
  5. Interactive lessons. Using tools that promote student engagement through the variety of content and activities that can be added to the lesson helps educators better understand student progress and enables students to build self-awareness in learning. With tools like EdpuzzleFormativeNearpod, or Pear Deck, educators have many options for adding in content and activities to help students build their skills. What I really appreciate about tools like these is that we can provide students with a variety of ways to demonstrate their learning through open-ended responses, polls, multiple-choice questions, quizzes, and more, depending on the tool. Read more: Assessing with multiple choices instead of multiple-choiceFormative was a game-changer in our classroom last year because I could use it to create lessons with videos and audio instructions that students could work through at their own pace. I could also use it in class for assessments which enabled me to provide timely feedback directly to students and adjust my lessons as needed. These options enable us to differentiate our instruction while promoting student choice in voice and learning.

Wrapping up

These are just some of the many ways that we can have our students demonstrate what they are learning. Whether through technology and the many tools available that facilitate communication, collaboration, and creativity, or using traditional methods, it is important to offer choices to our students.

When we can provide options that promote agency in learning, it leads to more meaningful experiences that promote the development of essential skills for the future and empower students through self-driven learning.

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join my weekly show on Mondays and Fridays at 6pm or 6:30 pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here