5 Life Lessons Learned from the #CardboardChallenge

One of our most passionate beliefs when it comes to teaching is that school should be more than just a place for content delivery and instruction. School should be a place that inspires creativity and innovation and prepares kids to be successful in whatever they choose to do after their schooling. One way we set out to do this with our 4th graders throughout the year is through creating epic learning experiences with Project-Based Learning.

The first week of school Grayson brought up the idea of doing the Cardboard Challenge inspired by the viral video, Caine’s Arcade. If you don’t know Caine’s amazing story of how he turned his father’s car shop into a cardboard arcade over summer vacation, watch the video below to learn his story. This video went viral and has started an entire movement in schools to foster creativity and innovation by taking place in the Cardboard Challenge. Continue reading “5 Life Lessons Learned from the #CardboardChallenge”


“What Do You Mean We Don’t Have Time For Social Studies!?” A Guide to Project-Based Learning

screenshot-2016-11-29-at-6-59-06-pmThis school year we set out to create a unique and innovative learning environment for our students. We removed the wall between our two classrooms to create one large classroom with 55 students and two teachers. Aside from changing the physical environment, we also wanted to be innovative in our instructional practices. We set out to create a “learning lab” for our 4th graders that would provide many opportunities for inquiry-based learning.

When brainstorming for the school year, the first subject area to be put under our “innovation microscope” was social studies. Thinking of how social studies is traditionally taught, teachers generally lecture or tell students what they need to know while students spend their time reading from a textbook, memorizing names and dates, writing informational essays, and taking multiple choice tests. Students memorize the necessary information for a test and then forget it immediately afterward. Sound familiar? We set out to find a way to make our instruction and assessment more meaningful for our students.
Continue reading ““What Do You Mean We Don’t Have Time For Social Studies!?” A Guide to Project-Based Learning”

My Brain Feels Alive!

It’s a rare thing to walk away from a PD session feeling motivated to go forth and put into action the ideas that were just presented. In fact, it was shared in a study that while 90 percent of teachers surveyed reported having participated in sessions of professional development, most of those teachers also reported that it was totally useless (Darling-Hammond et al, 2009).

But after attending a professional development session at Michigan State University’s 2016 College of Education Technology Conference, I left one particular session feeling so inspired, excited, and totally pumped up to put what I learned into practice as soon as possible. What got me so excited? I’m here to share with you… Breakout EDU! Continue reading “My Brain Feels Alive!”