Thursday, July 9, 2015

Learn Like A Pirate - Active Learning

Welcome , to our book study of Paul Solarz's book, Learn Like a Pirate hosted by The Primary Gal.

 Today I am sharing my thoughts about chapter 6, Active Learning.

Students learn best by doing, and this is fortunate according to Paul Solarz because this learning method is fun for both students AND teachers.

In this chapter, he describes several specific ways that he creates active learning opportunities for his students.


In a simulation, the students (and the teacher) take on personas and work toward learning goals.  Paul provides three different activities he has used in his own classroom.  While his lessons won't fit my level this year, it has me thinking about ways I might incorporate it into the lessons and themes that we do have.

Developing Deeper Understanding With Debates

Paul says that debates can be a fun way to get students researching, planning, and speaking in front of others.  This is definitely something that I will be implementing this year.

In this section he discusses the process he uses to teach his students about debates.  He talks about giving overlapping assignments.  His students are divided into groups to complete their tasks, and Paul conducts mini-lessons for the whole class.  Rather than waiting for all of the groups to finish each section of the project, he introduces the next task to everyone as a whole group when the first group is finished.  That way the fast finishers don't have to sit around waiting for others before they move on.  Other groups are then able to move on to the next task as they finish because they already know what to do.  I love this idea!  It seems like it would really pick up the pace of student work, because they won't want to be left behind.  They will realize it isn't a chance to waste time!

Getting Fascinated With Fairs

Solarz suggests rather than assigning science fair projects to do as homework, teachers should instead have the entire project be done in school.  Due to a lack of participation by students in prior years, I did just that this last year and it was amazing!

If science fairs aren't your thing, he suggests using other types of fairs such as history fairs or genius hour fairs.  I have seen some biography projects like this one:

Discover the Power of Project-Based Learning

Paul Solarz says that "creating projects that focus students' attention on content in exciting ways, providing them with choice, and allowing them to explore their interests are more effective teaching methods than lecturing or reading from a text book."

Turning Up the Fun With Technology

While Solarz doesn't advocate using technology for novelty, he does say that it is a great way to turn passive learning into active learning.

Role Playing With Reader's Theater

I have used some Reader's Theater in my class as a way to increase oral reading fluency.  Every time, my class has a ball with it!  Reading this section makes me wonder, why don't I use it more often??

I would love to hear your comments about active learning!  What ways do you incorporate active learning into you lessons?

If you would like to see my thoughts from other chapters, check them out below:

Chapter 1 - What is a Student-Led Classroom?

Follow along with the other bloggers who are participating in this book study!

1 comment:

  1. I teach biographies and that project looks adorable! Thanks for sharing!

    A Teacher Mom


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