Thursday, July 23, 2015

Learn Like a Pirate Book Study - Empowerment

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 8, Empowerment.

While the entire book really focuses on empowering your students to lead the class, Solarz says that he wanted to focus an entire chapter on the subject of empowerment because he believes that it must be the teacher's top priority.

Getting Passionate About Learning

Solarz says that Passion Time is one of his favorite times of the week.  I have heard about Passion Time on Twitter, but I haven't fully been able to understand the process.  I was glad that he chose to address this in this chapter. Passion Time is basically a dedicated amount of time set aside each week for students to pursue their on interests.

It isn't just a free for all time, as Paul explains the structure that he uses in his classroom.  I found this to be very helpful, and am looking forward to adding a bit of Passion Time to our class this year!

Empower Creativity With Maker Spaces

Again, Paul addresses another Twitter buzz word that I have not been able to quite wrap my brain around - maker spaces.  He has set up an after school club to empower kids to make, create, design, and build.

I am not sure about an after school club for my school, but I do like the idea of having a space where kids can have access to materials.  I had a few students this last year who loved to make things.  They would get a kick out of this for sure!

Create a Safe Learning Environment

I think that as teachers, we would all like to think that we create a safe learning environment for our students. Solarz takes this a step further by telling his students at the beginning of the year that he may have days when he is crabby, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't like them anymore.  He even role plays with them how to handle when he is frustrated with them.  He believes that children tend to blame themselves when adults are upset, and it is better to help them work through this.

Empowerment = Enjoyment = Motivation = Effort = Achievement

Paul Solarz says that when teachers empower students, the result is a higher enjoyment of learning which increases both motivation and effort, thereby increasing achievement.

A few sentences that really stood out to me from this section were:

"All children need to know they are cared for and that they have talent.  Empowerment comes from feeling qualified and capable."

"Children nee to hear that they are doing well! Do your students feel successful on a regular basis or are they hearing only how they need to improve?"

I have loved reading this book, and plan on going back through it as I set up my classroom this year.  Have you read the book?  What changes will you be making to your instruction?

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

Chapter 1 - What is a Student-Led Classroom?



Want to hear what some other bloggers are thinking about this chapter?  Stop by and visit the blogs below.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly - I really enjoyed reading your posts throughout this book study! Thank you so much for taking the time to read, reflect, and record your thoughts for everyone to read! If you or any of your readers ever have any questions, please email me at and I will do my best to answer those questions! I will also be creating a FAQ page at in the coming weeks. Thanks again!!!
    - Paul Solarz


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