Friday, May 27, 2016

Student Takeover!

If you're in the home stretch of your school year, then you may feel like I do. . . like I'm crawling to the finish! Lol! I feel like those teacher memes you see everywhere:
One of the BEST ways to re-energize your class is by letting students take over! What?! I turn over the teaching (well, a portion of the day) to my students.
Each student signs up for something they want to teach the class. They have to fill out a lesson plan & submit through Google Docs so I can comment & they can revise. You can grab your copy (editable powerpoint) of the lesson plan template here.
Every year I am simply amazed at my kids' talents, interests, and the range of topics. This is the perfect opportunity to allow students to shine in non-academic ways! So far this week, we've learned: how to make a stop-motion video. Wow! These kids first motivated the class by showing a couple of their own stop-motion videos. Next they did a fantastic step-by-step directed lesson, then called for volunteers, and actually made and showed the short clip they filmed! Another student taught how to add sound to the  video. My mouth was dropped open; I learned so much and they made it look simple! And talk about the patience it takes to make these videos! I loved the yellow shirt my student wore for his lesson day: Student Teacher #swag Stop motion. 
 Another student wanted to teach basic piano to the class. Undaunted by the fact that there is just one piano, she surveyed the class last week about their experience with music and piano. Based on the results of her survey, she categorized students into novice, beginner, some experience, and experts. She selected specific excerpts of sheet music for each student: the novices had only two notes that required only the right hand and she labeled their paper keyboards with notes. She differentiated for each student, up to those who take piano lessons by giving them sheet music that required using both hands (treble & bass clefs, that she labeled: right hand & left hand) and paper keyboards with no notes. After circulating while students "practiced" on their paper keyboards, she called students up to the piano to play their piece. Again, oh my goodness!! That lesson planning must have taken hours!!
Today we learned about the effects of carbon dioxide in an experiment with soda and Mentos. Before the exciting explosion outside, however, this student taught a whole directed lesson about the process!
 And don't you love your "out-of-the-box" thinkers? When this student proposed his idea of teaching "How to be Awesome", I thought he was trying to be a smart-aleck. Wow, did he ever surprise me! He was completely prepared with a powerpoint presentation on the definition of "awesome". After introducing the dictionary definition, he asked for examples from students. Each slide built on the idea that you make yourself awesome because the definition is as unique as each individual. He also emphasized how awesome it is to be kind, caring, and treating others as if they are awesome! I was practically in tears, as he was teaching! Classmates were cheering :) #bestillmyheart
We've also learned how to draw, fold origami, gymnastics, and dance hip hop so far! Over the next two weeks, other students have signed up to teach cooking, tie-dye shirts, script-writing, sign language . . . in years past, kids have even taught parkour and how to fold paper airplanes, along with a distance contest!  Students get such a kick out of taking over as the teacher (& a better understanding at how difficult it is to teach when kids talk and blurt out!) and they gain new respect from classmates for their strengths! We all learn so much! (And it makes the end of the school year a whole lot more fun!)

8 comments:

  1. Wow! Amazing students with an amazing teacher...

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  2. It's really briliant article :) I like it very much and I'd like to note that nowadays teachers should interest students in studying. But when you study in college/university you have not enough time to do everything, that's why there is http://paidforessay.com/ who helps with your difficulties and you have more free time! ;)

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    1. I agree; teachers should interest their students in studying. With turning over the teaching to the students, they motivate each other!

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  3. Memorable for you and your students. What a fantastic idea!!! I've always considered doing this, and perhaps this year I will. Thank you.

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    1. Turning the teaching over to your students makes for an enjoyable & stress-free last few days of school :)

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  4. WOW!! What an amazing idea!!! You are AWESOME!!! What grade is this?

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  5. WOW!! What an amazing idea!!! You are AWESOME!!! What grade is this?

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