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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

2015-2016 Year in Review

My 21st year of teaching...

June
I started the summer off with a BANG! Headed to University School of Milwaukee's Summer Spark conference and watched, enthralled, as Dave Burgess was on FIRE for two hours! More about the conference in this post...


I hosted the AHSD25 Genius Hour Workshop on 6/18 - only six people came, but I gave it my all, and my wish is they will incorporate student-driven learning into their days.

July
BOSTON! BLC15 Conference led by Alan November's great team. Presenting and attending, and enjoying the town! I held a "Master Session" on Genius Hour, and three hour-long sessions for the next three days!
I put my blood, sweat & tears into creating the "FaR" tabs of our class Weebly.

August
I was invited BACK to Boston for BLC16!
I was able to create and implement our first QR Code Scavenger Hunt!

September
Survived Parent Night - parents in my last class are on board with students grading themselves!

October
Attended and facilitated sessions at EdCampIL in Northbrook
Helped organize, then attended and facilitated sessions at EdCampChicago in Libertyville
My last class of the day graded themselves for the very first time! Wrote a portion of what I learned from these students and this experience in this post.
Sally Doulton was inspired by my scholars and wrote about it here.

November
The Best Lesson Series: Literature was published! Yes, I bought one for my mom for Christmas!
Gallit and Denise had their Genius Hour book published! And I was honored to write the Afterward!

December
Nothing spectacular happened. I am grateful for the consistency in my life!

January
Enjoyed another birthday. I like my 40s!
Received another signed copy of Teach Like a Pirate from a parent of a previous student! (She told me, "I was listening to him, and I thought - 'This is Joy! This is Joy!'" What a compliment.)

February 
Presented a 50-minute session regarding Genius Hour in LaGrange
Presented a 3-hour workshop on Genius Hour at ICE
Attended my third EdCamp Madison (#edcampmadwi) and created my first memes!
Parents Enjoying Presentations

March
Enjoyed actual REST during Spring Break.
Finalized my NBCT renewal submissions!

April
Was spotlighted in the Daily Herald
Enjoyed helping to organize and then attend EdCamp Chicago in Elmhurst
Enjoyed the half day of EdCamp DuPage at Wheaton North H.S.

May
Enjoyed attending and facilitating sessions at EdCampIL in my own district
Celebrated when ten parents came to Genius Hour presentations
According to student and parent feedback (blog post to come), I successfully (?!) had one class of students give themselves their final quarter grades for a full year.
Ended the year sending out 266 good notes home to parents. (130 last year!)

This upcoming year...
I've got nothing but VACATIONS scheduled for the summer, a couple of edcamps to attend in the fall, and my focus for the next school year will be on making those student connections once again.

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