Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Asking staff for help...

Sent email to all staff, and subsequently began an Excel document that can (and should be?) shared with staff...
Hello, valuable TMS staff! (Yes, that's EVERYONE on the staff!)

My students will be starting another type of "pilot" on Friday... I would love your help - no - I'd love your expertise, to be more precise.

Students are going to be researching a topic of their choice, and I'd like them to be able to come to you for a lead to find more answers. For example, I would consider myself a good resource for learning more about sign language, biking, and children's literature. Therefore, if a student were researching mountain biking, I'd direct them to the WORS website, Vince at Village Cycle in Arlington Heights, and favorite trails of mine from a reference book. I would not be teaching them anything about mountain biking - I would only be directing them to a place or resource where they could find out more information. (I've already got Mr. Hamilton down for video games, Mrs. Damico and Ms. Burner for knitting, and Mr. Dansby for Motown music!)

Could you please reply to this email and let me know your expertise - in something other than your current position? I am going to create a list of staff members and the topics in which they have expertise. This would be to let my students use you as a resource to find more information. Of course, if you'd rather not be approached by one of my students for direction, please discard this message.

Thank you so much!!


  1. Great email! May I use it and revise for my staff and parents! I may even send it out to our broader school community through the newsletter. This is great! DId you get a good response from your staff, Joy?


  2. I'm researching and setting up a genius hour for my freshmen. I love this idea of a letter. I hope you don't mind if I "steal" your idea and create one for my staff and parents. What a great way to get more involved!

    1. Please do what you will - That's why I published it! I believe we need to share as many resources as we can, so students can pursue their passions. Next time I do this, however, I believe I'll set up a Google form, so teacher responses can go right into a document for all to be able to view! Good luck, and let us know if you need anything!