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The Creative Classroom with John Spencer

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I want to see teachers can transform classrooms into spaces of imagination and wonder. So, here's where I explore what it means to make this a reality.

I want to see teachers can transform classrooms into spaces of imagination and wonder. So, here's where I explore what it means to make this a reality.
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Location:

United States

Description:

I want to see teachers can transform classrooms into spaces of imagination and wonder. So, here's where I explore what it means to make this a reality.

Language:

English


Episodes

It Might Be Hands-on Learning, But Is It Minds-on Learning?

10/14/2019
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It was the first Friday of the first week of my first year as a teacher and I was determined to have students engage in a hands-on learning activity. My students were going to solidify their understanding of the five themes of geography by creating... The post It Might Be Hands-on Learning, But Is It Minds-on Learning? appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:16:43

Every Student Deserves Access to Project-Based Learning

10/2/2019
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Years ago, my friend Chad started the 21st Century Classroom initiative in our district. Teachers would be part of six-person teams where they would attend professional development, receive state-of-the-art technology, and have a learning coach who would help them implement student-centered learning. But this wasn’t... The post Every Student Deserves Access to Project-Based Learning appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:17:29

Five Ways Humor Boosts Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving in the Classroom

9/16/2019
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When we think about creativity and innovation, the words “humor” and “goofiness” don’t typically come to mind. But I’d argue that this is a critical piece of what it means to cultivate a climate of creativity. Listen to the Podcast If you enjoy this blog... The post Five Ways Humor Boosts Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving in the Classroom appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:14:21

Students Are Often Terrified About Launching Their Work. Here’s How We Can Fix It.

9/9/2019
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Picture this. I’m standing up front at the front of the class, an awkward high school freshman new to Arizona. I’m shy. Painfully shy. I don’t know anyone in my class. Every part of me wants to crawl up into a ball and hide. The... The post Students Are Often Terrified About Launching Their Work. Here’s How We Can Fix It. appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:23:28

The Four Biggest Pitfalls of Collaborative Grouping (And How to Avoid Them)

8/31/2019
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We’ve all been there before. You’re working with a few other people and everything just seems to click. It might be on a ballfield or court. Or it might be in a jam session or a rehearsal for live theater. If you’re lucky, it might... The post The Four Biggest Pitfalls of Collaborative Grouping (And How to Avoid Them) appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:23:28

Why Trust Is Vital to Peer Feedback

8/13/2019
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I still remember a moment in my fifth year of teaching when I invited my colleague, Javier, to observe a lesson I was teaching. “Colleague” doesn’t quite describe it. Javi and I ran a project-based service learning together. We developed a fully tech-integrated curriculum together... The post Why Trust Is Vital to Peer Feedback appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:22:04

Direct Instruction Is Still Necessary in a PBL Classroom

7/29/2019
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Early on in my project-based learning journey, I made a vow to go 100% project-based. My students would learn everything through exploration and discovery. I would remain the guide on the side observing the process and helping out only when necessary. After leading students through... The post Direct Instruction Is Still Necessary in a PBL Classroom appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:16:04

Four Things P.E. Teachers Can Teach Us About Innovative Teaching

7/2/2019
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Six years ago, I led my first PBL workshop for a group of high school teachers. It was the summer after my tenth year in the classroom and I felt fairly confident that I could facilitate a whole day of professional development. I knew, for... The post Four Things P.E. Teachers Can Teach Us About Innovative Teaching appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:17:38

Making Rest a Priority in the Summer

6/17/2019
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Teaching is an exhausting gig and when teachers take the time to rest during the summer, they able to find a place of renewal and restoration. Research has demonstrated that rest is vital for maintaining our passion and reaching our creative potential. However, it’s easy... The post Making Rest a Priority in the Summer appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:18:03

Sometimes a Quieter Classroom Is Actually the Answer

6/10/2019
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A few years ago, my parents purchased the ultimate HGTV-style home, replete with vaulted ceilings, granite countertops, and an open floorplan. This was the dream space for entertaining. People could seamlessly move from the kitchen to the dining room to the family room – which... The post Sometimes a Quieter Classroom Is Actually the Answer appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:15:42

It’s Okay to Do That Same Epic Project Next Year

6/4/2019
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It was twelve years ago when I sat down with a journal and began debriefing my first full year of going project-based. I had a list of what went well, what went poorly, and what things I wanted to try out the next year. As... The post It’s Okay to Do That Same Epic Project Next Year appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:15:04

Growth Mindset is Great But Children Need Affirmation

5/21/2019
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A little over a decade ago, I read Mindset by Carol Dweck and it had a profound influence on my life. It affirmed something I knew as a teacher. Students show up to school with fixed and growth mindsets. As a teacher, I can do... The post Growth Mindset is Great But Children Need Affirmation appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:18:21

What Happens When Students Don’t Finish Projects? (Hint: It’s Not As Bad As It Seems)

5/13/2019
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About a decade ago, I had a group of students who had a great concept. They would make a paper mural. It would be shaped like the U.S.-Mexico border and it would have a picture of the Statue of Liberty in the middle with a... The post What Happens When Students Don’t Finish Projects? (Hint: It’s Not As Bad As It Seems) appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:20:08

Eight Ways to Appreciate Teachers

5/7/2019
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A few years ago, my daughter entered kindergarten. She came in knowing letters but that was about it. By the end of the year, she could put together entire words. She viewed language as a playground and reading as a chance to explore a whole... The post Eight Ways to Appreciate Teachers appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:14:17

The Power of a Launch (Why Students Should Share Their Work)

4/28/2019
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This article is part of a larger series on design thinking. Students begin with Look, Listen, and Learn, which is all about awareness and empathy. They move into Ask Tons of Questions, an inquiry phase. This leads to research in the Understanding the Process or... The post The Power of a Launch (Why Students Should Share Their Work) appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:14:45

The Surprising Truth Behind Creating and Consuming

2/25/2019
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It’s easy to pit creativity and consumption against each other. However, critical consuming is vital for creative work. When you engage in critical consuming, you become more inspired and ultimately, you will create better content. Listen to the Podcast If you enjoy this blog but... The post The Surprising Truth Behind Creating and Consuming appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:12:01

Podcasting Can Work in Any Subject

1/28/2019
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Last week, I shared why student podcasting is a great idea. Podcasting is a powerful way for students to share their voice with the world. Along the way, they learn to communicate, engage in critical thinking, and go through the design process as they ultimately... The post Podcasting Can Work in Any Subject appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:17:43

5 Reasons to Pilot Student Podcasting Projects

1/21/2019
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I just learned that New York City doesn’t actually have alleys. Okay, they have a few private alleys. However, after listening to the latest 99% Invisible podcast, I learned that the idea of alleys throughout NYC is a bit of a myth. Does this matter? Probably... The post 5 Reasons to Pilot Student Podcasting Projects appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:12:55

Seven Strategies for Building Empathy in Students

1/14/2019
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A few days ago, my son said something that surprised me. He said, “Dad, we have the best cafeteria lady at our school.” And I said, “Wait, what?” But then he went on to describe how this woman chose to memorize every students’ name in... The post Seven Strategies for Building Empathy in Students appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:15:11

The Power of a Mid-Year Reboot

1/7/2019
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So, it’s the beginning of the year and all around I’m hearing conversations about New Year’s Resolutions. One friend is going Paleo, another is doing Cross Fit, and still, another has decided she’s going to read 100 books in a year (which might be doable if you... The post The Power of a Mid-Year Reboot appeared first on John Spencer.

Duration:00:02:59