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.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Mrs. Smith came and she was so helpful! I am so glad she was there! I felt that without her, I might have given up or at least felt so defeated!!! The first class went wrong in so many ways. I really leaned on Jen for her words to help calm students, and explain to them what I could not.

By the end of the day, we learned...
No need to share the standards with the students at this point.
Let students know we're focusing on the PROCESS, not the PRODUCT.
Some students won't like it (2 had melt downs), but some students don't like being told to read biographies, either. Classic case of "you can't please everyone all of the time."
It's easier with two teachers.
Let students know that they may be working on the research/exploration stage for a long time, and they may not present to the class this year.
Let students know that their topic may change many times, depending on what they learn.
Let students know how much time in class they will have for this. I told them I would have at least one period a week devoted to reading (or researching), and one-on-one conferences during that time, too.
It's hard to start something brand new in the third quarter. Students would probably be more receptive if we start at the beginning of the school year...!

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