Monday, February 27, 2017

Launch Week 4: Look, Listen, and Learn

This week we dive into the LAUNCH cycle. Considering your students and the subject you teach, how can you give time for your students to look, listen, and become aware before beginning a project? Are there other opportunities in your classroom where you can utilize your students' curiosity?

If you would like to get a late start in the book club, that's fine. Just be sure to comment on every week's blog post. I know a few people have had problems commenting to the blog and also signing up for email alerts. If you have problems, please try logging in from a different network (if you have problems at school, try from home and vice versa) or try commenting from a different account. If you still have problems, please contact me (Meri) at carnahan@doe.in.gov. You might also check with your technology staff. Here are some other details about the book club:
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Next week we will read and discuss chapter 5, "Ask Tons of Questions."

142 comments:

  1. This is my first year in the library and I want to make it more inviting and fun for K-5 kids. While reading this chapter, I was thinking about asking the kids to solve some of my library issues. I should ask them what the problems in the library are and get their opinions on space issues as well as redesign. I could also see them coming up with new ideas on how to share books they enjoy with others. I will use some of the questions on pages 82/83 to spark a coversation about changes in the library.

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    1. Great idea! I have a "Talk Back" suggestion box in my library. Students are able leave comments, concerns, and suggestions concerning our school library. You would be surprised on the comments you will receive. Very helpful and insightful!

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    2. This is a really good idea. I know that our librarian has/is changing our library to more of media center so students can do all kinds of things there. It is a well used area in our school.

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    3. I love the idea of the suggestion box. Occasional I will do an class survey and ask the students what changes or additions they would like to see in the program. I think I will make a suggestion box instead. That way the students can just drop an idea when they have it instead of waiting for the class surveys. Thanks!

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    4. I like your idea about sharing books they have read. Maybe you could have them do a project about their favorite book and then display the projects in a special area in the library.

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    5. Asking for student feedback is a great idea. I know many secondary libraries have "advisory" boards of students. This could also be incorporated at the elementary level to have the students involved in the process.

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    6. I love how you took the content of this chapter and made it your own. The children are the main consumers of the library space. I can see them taking ownership, and making it a user friendly learning environment!

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  2. This chapter had me stopping to reflect on how I could improve on providing meaningful experiences for my students as we learn geography of the Eastern Hemisphere. We often begin units reflecting on what we observe in images I provide, however having students reflect using their senses adds a new dimension. It would be better yet to provide students with the objective, get curious about it, and they provide the images to start the unit.

    Although I do have a few PBL activities that result in "public awareness" on issues in the world, this LAUNCH process would enhance this project, especially if they had a REAL audience to present other than each other. There is one activity where we realize how the many issues in Africa lead so many people into a cycle of poverty. My students contribute money to the Heifer Organization which is a gift that keeps giving to help the poor. If they did this public awareness campaign to a real audience and include the school/community, the contribution would be larger and the learning more meaningful. I think another way to enhance this project could be utilizing tip #3: Start out with awareness about a specific issue (of their choice) where students believe they could be part of the solution. There would be multiple public awareness campaigns and many solutions rather than the one.

    One thing that intrigued me was tip #7: Start with a geeky interest, especially the guiding question, "If school didn't have any subjects and your only criterion was learning, what would you study right now?" It would be interesting to see what the students come up with. This makes for a good opportunity to utilize 20% time where they guide their own learning and teach each other in the end. I wonder if any of what they want to learn ends up being a state standards or cross curricular in nature.

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    1. I love giving kids a wider voice, a REAL audience. I have tried to do that with a spring-time PBL jointly done with my seniors and their Econ teacher. We have them present in front of a community panel. We are trying to improve the project this year. I think it's so important to give kids time to explore and investigate. Tip #3 is a good place to start.

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  3. As I read this chapter I found my highlighter going wild with numbers four (empathy), five (problem solving), and seven (geeky interest).
    I feel like FCS naturally lends itself to being an empathetic subject matter as we talk about sensitive information, specifically in my Human Development course. Problem solving is important for all students to work on. Nothing grinds my gears more than students saying something like, "Well I didn't do my assingments because I didn't have ________" (Wifi, paper, pencil, textbook etc...) This is where REAL life problem solving skills are important! If they can't apply problems solving skills to simply issues (paper, pencil, textbook), how can we get them to think about even bigger issues. I really liked this section in the book, I have highlighted, "What is an annoying problem you have in today's world" this could be a great opening discussion and start to thinking critically. The last point I liked was a geeky interest. We do have a 25 minute period in our school day that students could use for a Geeky interest, but we don't utilize it in that way- its more of a homeroom/study hall. I think if teachers started the movement of using that time for personal interests it might catch on with students.
    Like I've said, I think FCS is naturally a subject matter of curiosity, I just don't do well letting students explore that curiosity!

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    1. I love the way you took a student's excuse and turned it into the real life problem solving! This is a different mind frame that I didn't even think about! I think that this chapter really hit home for me about the discussions students need to have to help them problem solve through "an annoying problem you have in today's world?" Such a great example! Thank you for sharing!

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    2. Thank you! When a student tells me, "Well I didn't do this because I didn't have...." I usually respond with, "and how could you have solved that issue...?". Some students think I'm being snarky or rude-but its a real life question. They do this ALL the time with their personal devices and relationships (ie: cell phone, tablets, car) it doesn't work and they trouble shoot it (or problem solve) but they don't think to take the SAME steps when its a school related issue. Because all my classes are "life skills" I try to get them in this frame of mind. Not always easy!

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    3. I taught Human Development prior to becoming an administrator. You are right, this chapter would have been great to read when teaching this course. There were so many real life situations that were discussed. I taught a course called GRADS which stood for Graduation Reality and Dual Role Skills. It was for teen parents. It was a parenting class for teenagers. The goal of the course was to learn parenting skills while also making sure that the teens kept up with their school work and graduated high school. There were so many challenges and excuses were not an option. I would have loved to have this book back then!

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  4. I'm still having a difficult time trying to figure out how to use Launch in the alternative setting. The alternative setting is already student centered as the students work individually on each course they personally need for a graduation. I'm struggling with the idea of taking the time to work on projects using the Launch cycle bc the majority of the students are already behind on credits, and its a super crunch to get them to graduation on time with their class. I love the idea of Launch,I really do, I'm just having a difficult time coming up with some ideas. Is there anyone else in the group that works in an alternative school setting? If you do I would love to hear your ideas!
    I liked in the awareness section of chapter 4 where the book suggests that awareness looks different to everyone. And I also really liked in part 4 of the cycle when the book talks about the letting the students decide/letting the students do the reach to empower themselves to learn to work on their own. I mean, aren't we ultimately trying to produce self motivating citizens that can go out into the world and thrive?
    Another section in the book I found interesting was in the brain boost(pg 86) where the author talks about caring how the students feel bout their work. WOW! Of course we teachers hope the students enjoy our class. But do we ever ask ourselves "how to the students feel about their work"?

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    1. I work in a preschool setting...and I am with you in having a hard time wrapping my head around using this system. I only have the kiddos for 2 days a week for 3 hours each day...it seems to me like it would take much of the time I have with them just to utilize this idea. I also love your last line..."How do students feel about their work" in a school setting today...I don't think the kiddos often have the chance to ask them...A typical class doesn't seem to allow the time for students to ask questions...just answer them (as stated in this chapter)

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    2. Could you do something as simple asking how to get a task done without a key component? My example would be how to get a toy car or truck to point B from point A without the car or truck have any wheels? Or how to carry lots of books without using hands? Something along those lines.

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    3. Love that idea! I knew I was overthinking it! lol!

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  5. I am also a school librarian, however, I am located in the middle and high school. This chapter helped me to think about how to use the LAUNCH cycle in a school library. I am currently thinking about beginning with a book display housing books with a "Geeky Interest". As students choose a book I will being to encourage them to look into a passion or interest they may have and apply this to a product. I will try to encourage students to empathize with something they love and challenge them to search it. I will begin with the suggested questions to ask....What do you geek out about? I want to discover what my students are passionate about and what they are truly interested in. I thought the question asking what would you love to learn would be an eye opener. I am anxious to begin this with some of my students who utilize the library. I am hoping that they will be able to LAUNCH an idea to our school or whole community.
    I am so excited about this LAUNCH project. I thoroughly enjoyed Chapter 4. I am excited to see what the future chapters offer.
    I cannot wait to start!

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  6. As an art teacher I believe I have a lot more flexibility with my students and will be more able to utilize some of the suggestions from the authors. I also can an use to teach second grade, and I feel it would be difficult to do some of their techniques in the classroom. Even more so today with all the demands from the state and with testing. However, in my classroom I really try to get my students to think before they start a project. I want them to plan out what they are going to do by sketching and then they start the real project. Something else that I do is I introduce a new artist every month (Artist of the month) and students are able to sketch while they watch the videos about the artist :) They love it and so do I.

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  7. I really enjoyed chapter 4 as it really gave a lot of suggestions and ways that teachers can incorporate this way of thought into their classrooms. The tips are awesome and I can't wait to start integrating them this week! I do a lot of PBL in my classroom, since for world languages it is important that they are producing the language on their own and not just filling in blanks/circling answers, and using these tips would definitely come in handy when trying to tweak the current PBLs we are doing in class.

    I really love the Geaky Interest part of this chapter for several reasons, one being that I am always telling the students how I am "geaky" about specific things that relate to my personality. I'm thinking about possibly using this as a weekly thing, or at least a monthly thing to get students really engaged at being a part of the classroom atmosphere/environment. I think that having the students create something that is of just their interests would really add to the classroom culture and deepen the rapport.

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    1. Lindsey,

      I really love the last paragraph you wrote. I too am a world language teacher, but in ASL. I'd love to know what you are thinking about and how you are going to incorporate this. I think it would really add to our classroom culture and to the culture of our languages we teach. If you have time, let me know what you are doing or maybe we can brainstorm something together.

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    2. This chapter actually made things more difficult for me to see the whole picture, being a world language teacher!! I'm only seeing a science side to this now!
      I feel like I would need to do a separate project or unit to make this work. I'm hoping that I get ideas further into the book!

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  8. This year we started a 1:1 student to technology ratio. Each student was given a chromebook and we are asked to use it with them at least 3x a week. In my classroom, we found it was easier to use the Chromebook for their individual IXL time, writing for their journals, and we use Pinterest to teach them to find what interests them. As for teachers, we use google forms to gather knowledge about what interests the kids, where they would like to go in the community, what music/movies they want to watch/listen to, etc. Otherwise, I enjoy showing a Youtube video, to gauge curiosity with my students. For example, I did a lesson on Biomes, and showed a short, simple video on a specific biome, then asked the students what they noticed, or what they wanted to know more about. Often times, my students wanted to know more about the animals that lived there, but they were curious, and that was what I was looking for in the first place. I am hoping that with this book, I can interest my students more in math or cooking. It’s easy to interest kids in reading, history, or science, but I would like some ideas on how to interest my students in time, money, cooking/ life skills types of areas.

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    1. I like your idea about using a YouTube video to gauge their curiosity. Children love technology and I am always looking for ways to incorporate it into a lesson. It does seem to capture their attention, and a video would be something I could refer back to throughout my lesson.

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    2. My school is getting ready to begin 1:1 next year! I love the ideas you shared; I can use them in my classroom next year! I think that using music would be a great tool in my classroom, using it to pique the students' interest with and hooking them with that. I think that analyzing poetry/song lyrics would be something that I could use with the Youtube videos, but also something that I could use with to spark their curiosity.
      .One thing that really struck me in this chapter was the quote that stated the following: "Unfortunately, schools are more often designed to help students answer questions rather than question answers." This is something that I will take with me on my way to sparking the curiosity of my students.

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  9. When I read this chapter, the author made me see things in a different light. He says "some of these are intangible services while others are physical goods. Some of these are imminently practical while others exist for sheer entertainment." I had never thought about that before. How we take for granted things around us and how we never even thought how something may be made or done. I have to agree with the author that Math is a hard subject to use this in. My students do a project that they have to stop and reflect and problem solve, but it is at the end of the second semester. I am sure there is a lot of problem solving that could be done before that.
    In my American Sign Language course I would like to try to incorporate more of #4. Starting with empathy toward a specific group. I could ask the questions to get them started with what are some of the social injustices this group faces? How is this group mistreated in hearing neighborhoods, etc. After writing this and thinking, I may try to incorporate this into one of my assignments for the year. Giving them possibly a nine weeks to come together, working maybe 1 or 2 class periods each week. This way they will not only be learning about the culture of Deaf, but may help bring awareness of the Deaf.

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    1. That first part of the chapter intrigued me, too. I hadn't thought of it like that. I was initially thinking of a solid, tangible product that would help a group. As a language teacher, I thought that empathy would be a good start, too. Why are we learning Spanish? How can we HELP and make the world better with the language skills we are learning?

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  10. I feel that we are already on a time crunch, and we will be adding another class next semester, shortening our teaching time again. I feel to make this work in a language class, a whole new unit or project would be added. I was excited about the LAUNCH until this chapter! Now I'm only seeing science, and can't open my mind to other ideas to easily bring it into my class. I think that as far as the empathy stage goes, looking at immigrants in our country could be a good start. What are ways that our language use could help them? How could a deeper knowledge of them (tap into natural wonder) benefit the students? I'm thinking that this may be more of a culture unit, than grammar or vocabulary.
    If I can get them to geek out on one aspect of the culture, perhaps they would LAUNCH on their own. Music, food, dance, TV, movies, literature, clothes...these are ways that kids could understand another culture, explore it, and compare it to their own daily lives.
    The more I type this out and try to organize my thoughts, I'm starting to see some ideas!

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    1. Darcy, I think this happened for you with that Spanish singer and his music? This was a good handful of years ago and I remember your students were SO EXCITED about a song and I think there was a dance with it? I know you all went to see this man in concert and I remember your students were so excited about the whole thing and were so invested in it. I wonder if it all started as something they geeked out on, or you did and they picked up on it? So maybe this has happened for you before, where your students geeked out something and you ran with it. I hear you, I'd love my students to geek out on something too...and it's so exhilarating when they do! It was great to watch yours!

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    2. YES!!! Justo! Thanks for the reminder! There was another time that an object went missing from the class, and a ransom note was left behind. We stopped all of our lessons, found our suspect, and held a mock trial all in Spanish. We had lawyers, judges, reporters, witnesses, etc. I love having that flexibility in Spanish 4 to do those things. Those moments aren't as easy in the lower levels.

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  11. I really enjoyed this chapter. It was interesting how they laid out the different start ideas and gave examples of questions, stems, and how they are applied in the classroom. I personally really connected to a problem that needs to be solved..."shark tank" style. I think that many kids can easily relate to that method...so I loved how they show how other methods work and what awareness really is ("It isn't something you create n another person. It's a desire you have to tap into." And how it can look different toward each child. As I am really digging deep into this book...I am still having a hard time seeing how I can use all of the LAUNCH process with 3 year olds. I feel like many of the steps I can do...but bundling them into 1 to create something/product is where I have a hard time. We are always asking high-level thinking questions in the classroom...but the product is what stumps me. Maybe I am thinking too deep and making it more complicated that it needs to be. Anyone else having the same struggle as me?

    On a side note...being a mom of a first grader a quote from the book that hit me hard and really made me think, "Unfortunately, schools are more often designed to help students answer questions rather than question answers." I can't help but find the truth in that statement. So many schools have turned to a test based school...

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    1. I am having the same struggle! I currently teach Kindergarten and am struggling to incorporate the Launch cycle into my teaching. I know I can complete the steps, but I am also struggling to find a final project/product for my students to create. I think I will have the best luck if I try the Launch cycle during science first. We are always completing science activities.
      Your comment about test based schools is extremely true. I also agree that many schools have become a test based school. I don't believe they want to be; however, due to state assessments, district assessments, and unit assessments, it is hard not to fall into the test-based school category.

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    2. I couldn't agree with you more! I taught in the public school kinder and first for 8 years...each year the amount of assessments grew...even at those lower levels. I think we all agree there needs to be another change! :) maybe that could be our launch project...how to get more social/dramatic play back into the classroom!

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    3. I can't shake that sentence either, Mrs. Laura. I know I can be aware of it with my own teaching, but now wanting to think about how I can help others. Obviously we aren't going to completely turn that situation around, but I do think we can make it better... just have to figure out how. Maybe we should start a "Launch" project for that :) .

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    4. I like the idea of trying Launch with Science. I teach first grade and I currently have 24 students with various needs. It's also very difficult finding the time to fit projects into the day. This has me thinking and reflecting on how it would fit best in my classroom and at my grade level.

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    5. I'll support your, "launch project...how to get more social/dramatic play back into the classroom!" Developmentally appropriate play leading to learning is needed in for our littles!

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  12. To begin with a mindset that will help students think independently and productively, I give time for students to consider a question or topic on their own. It is often a question that asks them to consider an aspect of something that they would like to learn or change (sometimes a Know vs. Want to Know organizer helps). Following that, I ask them to share in a way that they see other ideas without interference, such as Padlet. If commenting or adding to others’ ideas seems appropriate, then I use some Google document or slides, reply to Edmodo, etc. In this way most students feel that their ideas will be valued without being judged by either me or their classmates.

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  13. I think I could use the look, listen, and learn strategy in my classroom during a review week for Bible. Right now we are memorizing James 1:22. It says to be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Therefore, I could remind my students that we need to DO what the Bible says, and give them time to come up with a mini-service project we could do that would relate to something they remember the Bible saying to do. I am excited about seeing what they come up with and how much they remember about the Bible.
    I like the idea about the "Geeky Interest". I agree that giving the students the freedom to choose the project will allow them to choose something that interests them and help others at the same time. This in turn, like the author said, will more than likely tap into intrinsic motivation and propel the project to completion. When my students learn and help others because they want to, I am thankful and love seeing them learn in this way.

    However, if my students struggle to come up with a workable idea, I can use #5 and give them a problem or a list of needs from the Bible to assist them in coming up with their idea/focus group for the mini-service project.

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    1. If you are willing to share your "needs/problems" list, I would appreciate it as a starting point. hbrooks@tsc.k12.in.us

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    2. What an awesome connection to a Bible verse! I think that makes total sense to tie in an opportunity for kids to DO exactly what they're talking about in class. I love to see kids get involved in service projects in their area. What a practical way to tie it all together. :)

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  14. As I was reading I felt inspired to let my students ask more questions and to give them opportunities to find the answers to their questions. I also thought about having my students write down "wonders" on a post it. It would be questions they thought about but not necessarily pertaining to the topic we are working on in class. Fridays are always spelling tests, quick quiz, and then catch up on anything from other classes with some free time if they complete everything beforehand. I thought about making Fridays a research and creativity time. I could let them pick a "wonder" and research about that topic. They can make a presentation of some sort to present their findings to the class at the end of the month. I could see my students loving this and I think it will spark more creativity and projects in the future.

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    1. Kelsey,
      I love this idea. I have some students that like to take research further and work on making Storykits, similar to story boards, after reading about people. This would give students choice instead of me assigning the topic or the "who" to reasearch.

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    2. I love the idea of kids writing down "wonders". This would be an awesome starting point for kids to get their ideas and creativity flowing. It also gives the teacher some insight to what topics the kids are interested in. I also love the idea of the kids giving presentations of their findings. I'm definitely going to use this!

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  15. Since we are well into the 1:1 Ipad stage at my school I have I feel a pretty good grasp on the launch cycle it seems. I let students explore topics that we will talk about with the Ipad and present or we just have a discussion on the topics that the students research.
    I have found for the most part this is a great way to cover material in US History. It seems to open up discussion and give the students information besides just what they get from me. I have used this launching to assign main topics to a group and allow them to present a keynote to the class and that group becomes a small expert group on the topic to help us all when we go into covering the time period or topic. I think the launch looked at this way has been very helpful in students that don't like history so much but appoint them as experts on the topic it helps them to get hooked on history.

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    1. I like the keynote speaker idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Not an easy thing to post for me this week but one that I feel I can challenge myself with even yet to the end of this year. I believe that my students need to definitely be more in tune with the Look, Listen and Learn aspect of my classroom but in order for me to allow this.. and here comes the tough part, I have to be quiet. There are not many minutes of my instruction time that are allowing for the students to listen and learn and look - no order in particular, to their own ideas or to other students ideas because I am always talking and directing! I worry about class control, lack of productivity, and inability to master what needs to be done if too much time is given to them to figure things out, plan, or proceed without my direction and input. I so want them to have 'the floor' and to be able to brainstorm in better and bigger ways, but fear keeps me from this. I so want to share my experiences in language learning that I forget to listen to their story of what and how and how much better they could learn a certain aspect of the language. This is a good step for both teacher and instructor. I felt like I was the learner in this chapter for sure... I have my work cut out for me... I'll start with listening more and talking a whole lot less.

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    1. Thanks for the honesty: I, too, have been trying to be quiet. I discovered the need for this when I observed other teachers who like to talk. Our principals have encouraged us to spend time in our colleagues' classrooms; it was through a couple of those experiences that the amount of teacher talk became very apparent to me, including how much less I should be talking.

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    2. I appreciate you thoughts on being quiet in the classroom. We think that it is necessary for direct instruction to be the teachers responsibility and that can be hard to let go. Sometimes it is necessary to let the students lead the direction by the questions they ask. Have heard many interesting conversations when this happens.

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    3. Agreed....a PBL phrase that comes to mind is "Ask three before me." When I put students in groups of four, that is an easy phrase to spring back to them. Likewise, when in pairs, I tell students there are two brains in front, beside, and behind them for consulting. I love to hear students discussing and talking through activities.

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    4. Oh I love this! The honesty is so very true. I feel the same way! When I turn quiet, I feel as though I am doing something wrong, that all my time should be spent instructing; yet I loved how this chapter gave the students the floor. It is an aspect that I will have to continue to work on slowly letting the grasp go and have the confidence that I am still servicing and educating them, just in a different way!

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    5. I so agree with you, Amy. It is hard to hand over the time with so much on our teaching plate. I am a "get it done now" kinda girl and have a hard time sitting and listening or allowing for exploration of a topic on the kids' schedule because I am worried about what we need to get to next. I think taking baby steps on letting go of that control and trusting that the process is just as important as the outcome is going to be key. I have to remember that letting the kids take the time now is beneficial to them in the long run.

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  17. I struggled with this chapter. The examples given were very worldly examples. It was hard for me to imagine the look listen & learn idea with my elementary music classes. I try to do different creative projects in my classes, but not like that. Especially on that kind of level. However, I do think that I could use this approach with a composer project or a music genre discussion/project. I think because I'm a control freak, it's hard for me to let go, and to let them go off on tangents that interest them while staying within the parameters.

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  18. For me in chapter 4 "Look, Listen, and Learn" I think it was hard for me at times to connect with what the author was saying. So often my students get off track with stories that allowing them to "tap into their natural wonder" seems a bit of a daunting task. Where I see this really coming into affect is during my read aloud time. I have a "Wonder wall" where students can go and put up a question they have while I am reading (obviously about the story). Usually we just answer these questions in class, but I see this as a way to enter into a deeper conversation/project!

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    1. I currently teach Kindergarten and my students often get off track as well. They all want to share any personal experiences they have. It amazes me how I can ask them a question and they will relate it to something completely off topic! I think allowing students to post a question to the "Wonder Wall" is a great way to start the Launch cycle. You could have students pick a question off the wall and use it as a writing prompt.

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    2. Keep students channeled, while exploring their wonder is definitely a challenge, and you bring up a great point. Maybe keeping a journal or something private as well as the wonder wall, and then students can share the ideas they've written down throughout the week at certain times. Not quite sure, but something to definitely think about!

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  19. As I read chapter four I found myself thinking "I am doing it all wrong". Well, not really. I am doing things my way not the way that maybe the kids think.
    So the project the members of my department are undertaking this semester is to have students design their own fitness circuit. We have asked questions and have a pretty good approach to the project. We have given them a list of equipment they can use in their circuit and am leaving the creativity up to the student. But my new thought is how this would look if they didn't have access to equipment. Is there a way to use everyday items to develop a fitness circuit. (We are also having them incorporate, stations without equipment too in our original project.) I can't even imagine what creative kinds of equipment they could come up with.

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    1. This is a fantastic idea! I am going to share this with my PE teachers! Thanks for sharing!

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  20. I am still thinking about a way I can use the launch steps in the way I do small groups. I was thinking maybe I can give students a little time to learn on their own on a guided reading book that we will read. See what questions they have about the topic of the book and let them research and learn some things on their own. I don't have a reading group for a long time, so I am no sure how well that will work. I definitely like how this process lets children learn about things they want to know and make something really neat with it.

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  21. In Physics, when teaching Newton's Laws of Motion and Momentum, you can have students build roller coasters with foam tracks and marbles. You could start the process by showing videos of different roller coasters at different theme parks and challenge students to design the most entertaining roller coaster (with loops, turns, and jumps). Students can think about what they enjoy most about their favorite roller coaster (or talk to other students if they are not fans of roller coasters)and research design ideas for their roller coaster. Judging of roller coasters could be based on complexity.

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  22. This chapter was hard for a 3rd grade teacher to read. I strive to have the reins of my classroom and set very high expectations for my students both socially and academically. My current classroom has a wide variety of interest as well as ability levels. I am afraid that some will be "done" in no time while others would be enthralled with the project and take their time.
    Lately, I have been trying the "Look, Listen, and Become Aware" strategy more in my science lessons and the students have loved it! At first, it was a little chaotic as I handed over the reins to them; eventually though, they loved doing their own research and sharing what they found.

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    1. I'm with you on this one! Regardless of grade level, I'm very familiar with the, "I'm done; what do I do now?" Maybe with this strategy, they will take ownership and not race through the process? You've given me some hope, because I can deal with a little chaos!!

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  23. I feel like there are definitely areas in FCS where I could loosen the reigns and let students use their curiosity. What comes to mind right away is when we start cooking and are learning about measurements and how things in the kitchen work. But then that makes me think of the issue of time and your question on how to have time to let them explore.
    I think what would be best for me is to start out very small with giving them freedom. Maybe it cooking lab where they already have a little bit of freedom I give them more to see how they handle it and it's not such a huge change for me that I get overwhelmed.

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  24. In my Psychology class we have used Look & Listen for some time, but not by that name. As we prepare for our research project, I have students brainstorm & consult media sources to choose a topic that they feel impacts them or a social group that concerns them. They then conduct research to build the project. The students conduct all steps of the research process on their own, and I serve as a facilitator or source of help or other info. Yes, this is the scientific method, but I am giving my students the room to fail, and bomb the project. Data that does not support a hypothesis is not a failing grade, it is just call for reevaluating their experiment design. I know this is my students favorite part of Psychology class, except the research paper that accompanies the project. I love watching them apply what they have learned in the previous 27 weeks.

    Chapter 4 motivated me to try and use this in other subjects. I especially liked the questions & stems that I can use to jumpstart the process. Drawbacks for me I see as the age of my students and the subject matter of class. My upperclassmen, in a CP class are so much better prepared to tackle this process than 8th graders that study US History. I am scratching my head as to how to implement this type of process in that discipline. Any ideas?

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  25. I always start my entrepreneurship unit with an "I can't stand it when" activity to get the students thinking. I love to see what they come up! It is always very difficult in the beginning for my students to think "outside the box" but after some prodding and a few examples, it is amazing to see what they think about! Once we finish this activity individually, we move to groups to bounce around even more ideas. I used to rush this process, and now I'm happy if we get it done in 2 days. Sometimes students just need extra time to think and ponder.

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    1. I love it! "I can't stand it" that's a great idea.

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  26. I would like to give my students time to investigate before beginning a project. Our school is 1-to-1 so each student has a laptop and can spend time investigating before, during, and after a project. Having a rubric available to students help them guide their work in the right direction while giving them creative freedom to submit an interesting aspect of the project. I find it difficult to encourage students to explore their curiosity in that math is always so rushed. The time they may need may not be the time available. This book is encouraging though as I want to create exploratory projects that do not have to be done by every student at the same time, but rather smaller projects done in pairs when they feel ready to tackle the projects. I also want to embrace this design process so I can incorporate the use of our CANVAS student portal. Students can upload photos, typed work, thoughts and discussions.

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    1. I always struggle with what resources to let them use when online. Any good recommendations for websites/search engines that are elementary appropriate?

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  27. I feel that the art room lends itself well to the LAUNCH cycle. I encourage kids to come up with their own ideas and solutions to the projects that I present.
    “Starting with a specific problem that needs to be solved”, we begin projects with me introducing a lesson. This lesson may be about an art element, artist, or technique (sometimes all three). From here, students are given set requirements and objectives that they need to achieve to complete the project. Students are looking at what I am presenting and listening to what I am instructing and then they are diving into their sketchbooks to come up with ways to achieve the requirements.
    After reading this chapter, maybe I could flip flop the way I begin a project, “starting with a geeky interest”. Perhaps I can introduce art elements, artists, or techniques and see what questions or thoughts the students can come up with to create their own project requirements. This would just give them more ownership at the beginning and maybe help them to be more creative and independent in their thoughts.

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  28. As a Kindergarten teacher, I am struggling to find ways to implement the Launch cycle into my classroom. I have a few ideas:
    First, we have intervention groups 4 days a week. I start interventions by reading a book with students. The first day, we complete a picture walk. The second day, we choral read. The third and fourth day, students read the book to me. I am thinking I could spend more time on Day 1 to ask students what their predictions of the book are and any questions they have. Then on Day 4, we can reflect to see if their predictions were correct and if all of their questions were answered after reading.
    I am also thinking I can implement a KWL chart more into my units. I could spend more time at the beginning of a unit to complete the K and W part and then more time at the end of a unit to complete the L part and have students reflect back on the lesson and what they have learned.
    My students are already very creative. I am amazed everyday at the games they create during recess, things they build during block time, and their imaginations. I am just struggling on how to instruct my students to be more creative while following the curriculum. I would love to hear from ay other Kindergarten teachers and how they plan to implement the Launch cycle into their classroom!

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    1. I found this idea on a teaching blog and tweaked it to fit my class. We are currently doing a three week study on animals in my kindergarten classroom. We have been building a "pretend zoo," which they think is their idea. Each child is researching a specific animal that they are interested in. They have been creating a poster on which they have been adding facts about their animal during writing time. They are comparing physical features, learning about their needs, and growth/development. We have been visiting zoo web sites and reading losts of animal books. This week they will build a diarama for their animal's habitat. As a cummulating event, we will invite other kindergarten classes to walk around our zoo. My "zoologist" students will be stationed by their habitat/poster to teach about their animal. I didn't really start out to make it a launch project, but I see pieces of LAUNCH in it.

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    2. I'll give a plug for the book Reading Picture Books with Children by Megan Dowd Lambert. This book helps teachers understand how to incorporate critical thinking and design into storytime.

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    3. I will look for it! Thank you!

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  29. The beginning of the chapter discussed how it was difficult for the teacher to let go of his idea for service projects and allow the students to come up with their own ideas. I admit that I am guilty of this. I like to come up with the ideas in hopes that the students are as enthusiastic as I am.

    In my work environment the students are quite selfish. We have taught them to do short term service projects. I would love to push the envelope a bit further. The challenge for us is that since it is a treatment facility, the students must remain anonymous. Maybe a letter writing campaign would be a good start. My staff likes the idea of giving back and teaching our youth that the world is bigger than their own neighborhood. This chapter is a starting point. How do it it from the inside of a place that is addressing education and trauma is where we need to get creative.

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  30. Before beginning any new study, I try to come up with a hook to get the students intrigued. This isn't anything new, and I'm sure many teachers do this as well. I used to do this because my mentor told the importance of getting the students on board right away. This always caused the students to have different questions than the ones I was intending on focusing on in class. Now I come up with a hook so the students can help guide our focus for the project or unit. A new group of students each year allows my focus to change and keeps me on top of my game.

    I like to use my students' curiosity to help guide writing, science, and social studies. There are many occasions my students come up with questions that I don't have the answers to, and this leads us to deeper discussions. Our school is really focusing on STEM, and the LAUNCH cycle fits perfectly into this scenario.

    I am not good about using this method with social situations, but I will definitely be trying to implement this into the classroom. I'm enjoying this book, and feel like I'm growing alongside my class with each chapter I read.

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  31. As a Health and P.E. teacher, I think this would be easier to accomplish in a Health setting. I could see utilizing "the look, listen, and become aware" in various labs in Health class. We completed a unit on eating disorders in the 8th grade, and I showed a video to my students' to get a response and have them write about what they thought of the video, reactions, etc. The movie was about a young girl their age that was suffering from anorexia and bulimia and it showed her journey through these diseases. After the movie, my 8th graders had so many questions and could relate to her because she was a 13 year old girl. They became empathetic to what she was going through, and just teens in general that were suffering from eating disorders. I could see using #4- Start with empathy towards a certain group in Health quite a bit with various diseases and illnesses that we discuss in more detail.
    I really liked and remember what the author said about empathy, "Personal experience connects them on a heart level to the issues that those living in poverty face." If a student exhibits or can connect with your launch or ideas they will become engrossed in what they are doing and the results will become that much better/developed.
    I also could see myself using the Shark Tank Style of the approach, and have students' think of a problem in our society, or something that bothers them that they would like to see fixed or improved. I think students' would take more pride in their work if it was something they were interested in solving. I do agree students' will need more time to Look, listen, and become aware, and I could see them doing this by asking their parents, grandparents, family members about various experiences, labs and experiments, and just finding something in your curriculum that they find interesting or connects with them on a personal level somehow. I would love to see more examples of how the launch cycle could be utilized, and I look forward to reading on with this book and hopefully coming away with some usable approaches to the launch cycle for my subject area. I am beginning to see more of the big picture though, and getting ideas circulating about how this will work. :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing. I think this should be a universal lesson in 8th grade corp-wide. Great job!

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  32. As part of my daily bell ringers that I use to start each of my English classes, Friday's have evolved into an "Inspirational Video Day." Students and myself find stories of real people who have done something inspirational, we watch their story, then they write something briefly about that story. I think this would be a prime time for students to "look, listen and become aware." Perhaps I could have them pause each quarter and identify a person that particularly moved them and have them do more research on them. Often times, the people in our stories represent a cause and when I see a particular amount of interest in a certain cause, I could use that as a springboard for the launch cycle. A whole myriad of projects could develop from this!

    Next year, we will be moving to a block schedule with longer classes. This would allow for more time to devote to each of the launch cycle phases as well...more time to reflect individually and as a small group. These small groups could create projects based on shared passions.

    I think a key part of this particular process is empathy. Without this, there is very little...if any...motivation which should be intrinsic. Having it be intrinsic is key as well. One of the sentences I highlighted from this chapter is "Is their commitment to the activity based on external or internal factors?" From running the school's Student Council for 5 years, I've learned that fundraisers are far more successful when it is about a cause that is student-motivated rather than something I suggest.

    It is good to be reminded that it is so important to allow students the time to simply reflect on what moves them. So often, especially at this stage in their lives, they are told what to do and how to do it. While this is important, I think it is also important that students learn how to think more for themselves, to discover what it is that moves them, that lights a fire in them...and then are given the time to explore that.

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    1. Inspirational video "day" is a great idea ,thanks for sharing!

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    2. We have a 9 week SET class which is for Student Enrichment Time. During this class I have motivational Monday and I show a motivational video or we listen to a motivational song. I will add inspirational videos of real people too. Thank You for that idea! The students have to sit and listen and reflect on what they hear in the song and what they can relate to in their own lives. We have discussion groups and the kids get to share how the video touched them and how it can help them in their daily lives. Many times the students will write about the video in their writing journals too. My students love Motivational Monday and I need to do more activities that require them to sit and listen and time to reflect with their peers.

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    3. Michelle,
      This inspirational video day sounds great. I pull things up on occasion but we discuss and move on. Sometimes they beg me to watch more while waiting for dismissal too:)
      I've never considered asking them to create or further explore on their own. Thanks for the idea!

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  33. I think a huge part of this process is awareness and empathy towards the project you are looking at. Students will take more interest in something that applies to them rather than something where they won't see or benefit from the end result.

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  34. The classroom examples were a wonderful resource in this chapter. Providing sentence stems, especially for EL students, is a great strategy. I think that in an elementary setting, utilizing a consistent and systematic framework will help students from year to year so design thinking just becomes "How we do school." In my school we use an inquiry-based science model so our students get a taste of this type of thinking. I can really see our teachers and students taking off with stage 1-Look, Listen, Learn. On a side note, I LOVED Caine's Arcade video and will be sharing with staff!

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  35. While I haven't ever truly flipped my classroom, I have increasingly moved in the direction of providing content or provocation on CANVAS followed by surveys, quizzes, and assignments. That way I can be assured that students have been exposed to some of the same considerations before going forward with a launch. I'm always searching content in the form of articles, videos, Ted Talks, current events, etc. to share with students and solicit a response. I feel like those opportunities can stoke a young person's curiosity or interest and provide a great springboard into a new venture.

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    1. Great ideas for curating information and using Canvas for delivery and response as a springboard. This is our first year 1-to-1, so I will be doing much of this!

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  36. I loved everything about this chapter. My STEM class is project based, and follows a process much like the Launch Process, so they do have time to explore before beginning a project. However, our projects are scheduled, and I love the idea of giving students the opportunity to participate in a project dependent on their specific needs. My wheels are turning as to how I can pull that off before the year's end. "Unfortunately school are more often designed to help students answer questions rather than question answers." I've been thinking about this sentence since I read it. I hope that, through reading this book, and sharing it with others, we can start to change that. Not entirely, or all at once, but bit by bit through small opportunities which can build upon each other. I will be encouraging students to start thinking about what they love and planning ways for them to explore before the year is over.

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  37. I guess I must be having a "down week". I just don't see my students being interested enough to do full-on projects that involve internet research and any time outside of music class time. Teachers typically don't care about music class and don't give much support towards concerts either. I usually do everything myself. It just seems more appropriate for high school and college level students than elementary. And it also seems like it would only really work for students who care about their education, unlike so many kids who only come to school because they have to - and make everyone around them miserable because they are. Sorry to be so negative. I like the idea of getting students to pick problems and come up with solutions, I just don't think elementary kids would work on it outside of music class and there isn't much time to do large projects during class.

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    1. Rikki, I teach middle school Language Arts and can relate to your post. While I do have some students who genuinely care about their education, the majority just "pass the time" waiting until the bell and do nothing at home. I think this process must have a team approach to get both staff and student buy-in. Once our classes begin to see that thinking is "fun" and collaborative, they may engage more. Communicating home about the investigative approach being used may also engage some parents to support the learning going on at school.

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  38. I have a little different situation. I work with families and their toddlers in their homes through First Steps (Birth to 3). Most of the toddlers are minimally verbal. We spend a lot of time talking about communication strategies and student engagement. The student centered learning comments in this chapter spoke to me. When working with young children, it is essential to allow them to explore their surroundings and pick activities that spark their interest. A 2 year old is more likely to take learning risks if it is an activity they want to complete. I doubt the 15-24 month old kids could handle the LAUNCH cycle but some of the 30-36 month old kids might be able to start incorporating the problem solving and inquisitive skills into their play. This could be a great way for them to build basic vocabulary skills.

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  39. As a Title 1 teacher I have small groups of students for grades 2 through 4 and we are focusing on skills to use when reading text. The LAUNCH cycle is intriguing and I am looking for ways to incorporate the look, listen, learn piece for these groups. I need to let the groups lead by showing me what they already know and then incorporate their questions to enhance the skill. This will challenge my teaching as I have a limited amount of time with each group.

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  40. I enjoyed reading this chapter. The seven ways to tap into student awareness should cover every student. There are a few students that have trouble focusing in class. I'm going to try a couple of these approaches. I liked #2-tap into natural wonder. Nature is something that everyone is able to see no matter where they are. It is all around us, and is easily found in videos. I also liked #4-empathy towards specific groups. Everyone belongs to one group or another. What is it that they need to go further? I'm hoping the upcoming chapters keep adding to these already great ideas.

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  41. As I read chapter 4, I realize I allow more time for students to look, listen, and learn before beginning a project a lot more now than I did when I first started teaching. I used to want to believe I had to lead the discussions, have everyone do the same thing, etc. I love giving my kids choices with all group projects because I believe they will be more engaged in what they are doing. When students have to sit back and look, listen to others, and learn before diving right into the project then I think the finished project will be much better.

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  42. Our school has a time that was like a 25 minute Genius Hour. Last year I used that time to get my 7th graders to create something. They did amazing but now that time has changed in our school into more of a study hall and I now have 11th graders that are less motivated to create for me. I would like to take this to my AP students this year and try to give them the freedom to create something.

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    1. Andrea, I would be curious to hear more about your 25 minute Genius Hour. I work in a library and only have students for about that length of time and am trying to figure out what would be realistic to have my students create in that amount of time. Guess I am sort of pessimistic so any ideas that have worked I would welcome.

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  43. I really enjoyed this chapter.I was happy that the authors reminded us that we may be talking about "intangible services" rather than "physical goods" because I keep going back to this process needing to be about making a thing.
    My wheels were turning as I read this chapter and especially on the thinking stems.I always have to consciously remember to give my kiddos time to wonder and notice. That's often hard for me because my own agenda seems so important at the time. I am often worried about the tangents the kids go off on or the paths they start to explore as we get "off topic".
    As I began reading the sections about observing phenomena and tapping into wonder, I immediately began thinking about how I might engage my students in an experience that would allow for some exploration of our next physical science units about light and sound. I can't wait to get them interested and then watch them explore in their own way. I was also enthused when I got to the Geeky Interest section. In past years I have allowed students to engage in Genius Hour projects, but this year I just haven't set aside weekly time for that exploration. I think it is time to dive back in! :)

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    1. Elizabeth Stracener-I also liked the point the authors made about "intangible services" rather than "physical goods". It is positive to create projects/processes that do not require special equipment or expensive supplies to make a product. I also was motivated by #7, the Geeky Interest section. I hope to tap into more of what makes my students curious and sparks their personal interest.

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  44. Great ideas and topics to think about throughout the chapter. Love the various ways to engage students in asking questions. The questions for each strategy and sentence stems are great and extremely helpful for teachers and students. Probably my favorite part was at the end of the chapter where the author is talking about Project Global Inform - where some student groups did not reach their goal and talked about "failure" in a positive light - to "fail forward." This is great to share with students (and teachers as well!).

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  45. I try to do some sort of "anticipation guide" before reading a novel. I also have incorporated some fact-finding activities. For example, my sixth graders are getting ready to read The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963. We did both of these activities to build some background knowledge on the civil rights movement of the 1960s. I also do something similar when we begin our Holocaust unit with the social studies teacher. I would like to give them more opportunities to explore and build their curiosity, but sometimes I'm not sure where to start. This inspired me to try to work Genius Hour in again next year possibly.

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  46. I think as a principal I feel like I need to encourage my teaches to allow the students to share their voice with them. There are times when we need to allow the students to have more choice in what they are doing. I do believe there are times when we need things done a certain way or a certain assignment done, but thee are also times when our students could come up with a much more creative way to demonstrate their understanding if we would just listen to what they have to say.

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  47. One of my favorite things to do with students is ask open-ended questions. As a counselor you receive training on asking open rather than closed questions. Instead of “did you enjoy your weekend?” I ask “what did you enjoy about your weekend?”. Seemingly similar questions, but they will give very different responses. Teenagers often emit minimal responses: “yeah”, “nope”, “yep”. So when asked “what”, “why”, and “how” they are given the opportunity to explore their thinking and reasoning and communicate in a more meaningful way.

    When I go into a classroom I like to pose lots of open-ended questions to 1) keep the students engaged 2) to find out what they know and 3) begin discussions that allow students to challenge their own and others’ thoughts and opinions. In counseling the “wonder” statements are particularly important because they allow for exploration without judgement. I can see how these would also build a positive classroom environment based on trust and common interest. I am also interested in exploring using questions about what bothers students. This is a great way to get them interested in a project that could fix the wrongs they feel. So often adolescents feels ignored and powerless, so these questions could really help to tap into their passion and help them feel powerful in eliciting change, as well as helping to build their empathy towards others. I really see the value in spending time on the questioning and learning phase of the creative process and love the sentence stems provided in this book.

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    1. Elizabeth Stracener-I also like using open-ended questions, however I am challenged because I have one class that will not talk/answer questions for fear of being wrong. They are very "points-oriented" and work for the grade. I do think some of this mindset begins with parents, so they need to be on board too. I am being very diligent about sharing with them that it is about the learning process and developing critical thinking skill, not the grade (A+). I hope that asking questions will spark curiosity, and deeper thinking. I hope to use #7 to allow them to pursue a topic that they choose to know more about!

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    2. Grades and finding the one, correct answer are how my accelerated students are programmed. In my opinion, they are the ones that need pushed out of their comfort zone to increase their awareness of others and explore possibilities. Creating open-ended, discussion oriented challenges as you suggest are great ideas.

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  48. Elizabeth Stracener-I teach high school life sciences and high school health. Since I have 5 classes to prep for this year, I realize that I need to use LAUNCH in steps, because when I thought about trying to integrate a huge LAUNCH project in each class I was overwhelmed! I appreciate this chapter's statement that I need to construct scenarios to expand student awareness and curiosity. We are a 1:1 technology school, so students have the opportunity to explore the internet on a daily basis. I sometimes find that I need to make students more aware of the need to have empathy. Listening to student conversations, they often call each other names, probably not realizing that they may be hurting other's feelings. Helping them to be more aware of how other people feel will help with their social and emotional growth.

    We have had some trouble with students gaming during class, so allowing students to explore and make observations would allow them to use their computers as the educational tool that they were intended to be. I like the suggested questions and sentence stems that the authors provided for the different scenarios.

    I felt most connected to ideas #2 and #7. As a life science teacher, tapping into natural wonder happens often when we are talking about biology. I also want to include more time for students to start with their "geeky" interest. This would also allow me to connect more with my students, and for them to connect with and learn more about each other. It would also give them motivation to study/investigate what matters to them.

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  49. After reading this chapter I have more questions concerning how I will be able to use LAUNCH in my present job. As a librarian I only have each class for 40 minutes every other week and 10 minutes of that time is designated for book check out. The look, listen, and learn process sounds great and exciting just not sure how I incorporate it into the time that I have with students. If the LAUNCH method was being used in the classroom, I could see that my role would be to help facilitate the research of the what, why and how.
    I am wondering about books to read aloud to classes that would help encourage students to be asking what, why and how. Maybe that could be a way for me to bring some of these ideas into the learning place of the library.

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  50. Curiosity as the starting point is important, but I have noticed that students who have hand held devices often think that the first result from a Google search is all the deeper they need to investigate. The awareness of the problem often has to come from literature and nonfiction sources, from which they can begin to make connections to their own life and community. This generation of learners has been so programmed for finding the one, correct answer, that I love the idea that we need to teach them to "question answers."

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  51. This is what education is all about - students delving into topics that they are interested in and developing their own questions. I can relate to those who said that their students don't like to talk because they're afraid they don't have "the right" answer. That's something I work on very specifically with my freshman classes. It's sometimes slow going at the beginning of the year, but eventually they realize that often there is not one "right" answer and that getting somewhere important only happens as a result of a process.

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  52. I agree with a lot of the other responses that these strategies are still very science-oriented. However, I feel like chapter 4 brought in a more clear and interesting perspective on how social studies can be used to prompt some of these creations. The process is scientific, but the basis can be found in issues that face our culture today. "Tapping into natural wonders" or a "geeky interest" can be based on things that they learn in other subject areas other than science.

    I teach 3 year olds, so it is difficult to use all of these strategies in the preschool classroom the same way the book suggests, but starting with some of the basic "sentence stems" can make this process more simplistic in my opinion. Just using the 5 senses to describe what they are observing is a great place to start with little ones. I feel like I'm often trying to get kids to ask questions about things...books that we read, science experiments that we do, etc. by constantly saying, "I wonder why_______"
    or "What should we do differently to change this?" The problems in the preschool classroom are obviously very different, but no less important to them when they feel something isn't fair.

    Nevertheless, I believe curiosity has to begin somewhere. Right? I like to think that some of the questions they have at age 3 can spark creations at age 13 or even 33. I think sometimes this process can be built on over time or even from classroom to classroom, because as we mature and discover new things, our curiosities and ideas change and evolve. Of course, as a teacher, it would be great to see the whole process come to completion with an incredible discovery or invention, and that's obviously what the authors suggest. However, I believe sometimes early childhood and elementary teachers can plant the seeds that lead to more questions and inventions later in life. It truly does "take a village to raise a child" in many ways. :)

    Finally, I like the discussion at the end of the chapter about "failing forward" in these projects. The students talked about all that they learned, even though they may not have reached their specific goal. As a teacher and parent, I'm realizing how important it is to talk about how valuable the learning process is, even when the outcome isn't what you wanted. I rarely talk about failure in a "positive light" as suggested, so this was a great reminder.

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  53. I would like to incorporate more opportunities for students to look, listen, and become aware. I am still trying to think when I would have the chance to assign a project for this. I would like to find a way to incorporate it into math because my students seem to respond to math more positively when they can make personal, real-life connections.

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  54. I teach world history, and I think before beginning projects or units, I want to give students an opportunity to ask questions of what they want to learn about the topic. We could then formulate our activities or projects around what they want to take away from the topic. I think this would help give students more ownership to their learning, while also sparking their inquisitive nature. When we do a global issue project at the end of the year, I have students brainstorm global issues they see in the world and topics to go along with them. When we do this, I think we are looking at the audience and the issues facing various groups in the world. From here, students start their research into the causes and history of the issue, and then try to problem solve solutions to the issue.

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  55. So far I’ve been able to think of several ways to give time for my Spanish students to look, listen, and become aware before the beginning of a project. I think brainstorming what is needed to work with a topic, asking questions and maybe making a list of what they want/need to know, and open-ended questions, especially about culture. Then they need time to explore their ideas. The best suggestion I’ve heard so far is students coming up with their own way of proving understanding of a topic.
    So many students are “bored” and apathetic of EVERYTHING. I keep asking myself how can I wake up the curiosity inside?

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    1. I agree. A lot of students are board. Peaking interest is a problem across the board. Thats why as educators we should always be willing to do something different to attempt to get their attention.

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  56. I like the idea of asking the students what do they want to learn about in this class and using this as a jumping off point with Launch. I teach relationships, finance, cooking, nutrition and I can see this working. I have to let go of the idea that I need to cover X amount of content in a quarter to let this work. Difficult but I am starting to see the value in this. Looking forward to learning more.

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  57. I teach 5th grade and I think my kids get the opportunity look, listen, and be aware when I am teaching Social Studies. Each unit is followed by a project. The projects allows for a lot of more in depth discussions and usually more research being done to find answers. Science is another good area for this. My students will ask a lot of questions after we do an in class experiment. We end up testing something new or doing extra research to apply the knowledge learned to another area. I love this part of my job because it gets me excited about teaching these subjects.

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  58. I teach science which often opens itself up to investigation. I find myself focusig on wanting to teach them the material instead of manipulating or experiencing the material. I am constantly looking for ways to improve this in my classroom. I think that providing student with opportunities to stop and observe and then make inferences would help them to understand the subject more fully.

    This chapter talked about observing the phenomenon. In science there is so much to observe. I really liked the auestion promps to help students make their observations. I would like to find what really interests them. I found the questions on page 93 benifial for this. My 7th graders are a curious bunch. I am going to see if I can use some of these questions to spark some interest that could lead to a student lead investigation.

    This chapter has some really great ideas that I can't wait to try.

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  59. While reading Chapter 4, I was challenged to find ways to incorporate this way of thinking into a math classroom. Technology has made it much easier to engage students. For example, YouTube videos can be shown to introduce a particular math unit or concept. However, I struggle with how to have students "explore" or "discover" certain concepts on their own. Hopefully, I'll begin to see practical ways to improve on this in my classroom as we continue with the reading.

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    1. I have found success with a problem or issue that truly resonates with my math students. A situation that is real to them - for them, the best cell phone plan, planning a trip, creating a budget if they were working in their chosen career....etc.

      With the interest level being high, allow them to discuss and listen to each other; you will be amazed by their dialogues. It is easy after that point to have them explore and discover.

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  60. Several of the comments I have read concerning listening have discussed teacher listening first. I recently attended a PD conference and the keynote speaker informed our group that students should have an opportunity to contribute during a lesson at a rate of three times per minute- this surprised me. If students are contributing three times per minute, that would mean that I am not talking or sharing- they are. At first I did not think this approach could be sustainable, but I tried it out one day last week, and it not only kept kiddos engaged, but not one student tried out for the band during my class(drumming on the table, whistling...)

    I am now a fan of listening more often:)

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  61. I believe in making projects much more simple. I have found through trial and error to make my projects very open ended. This way, the child's creativity is allowed to come out. In other words, putting too many stipulations and requirements on a project can stunt creativity. The kids can get excited about what they're doing and show off their skills. I have found a good way to help them along is to have them present the project to me individually and briefly that way I can make suggestions or simply have a conversation with them regarding other avenues or ways to improve. I also enjoy having classwide brain storming discussions in the beginning. I walk around and listen to what they're talking about and interject small ideas or spark their interest if possible. After the brain storming we usually tend to make information webs, outlines, models or draw pictures. I realize that everyone's learning style is different. Every kid organizes their thoughts in a different way, all that I do is ask them to organize on a piece of paper in anyway they see fit. I believe phrases such as please put in a valiant effort etc. are discouraging so I try to refrain from them. Instead, I put a positive spin on things. I would say something like "now what does this mean", or "how can you expand on this idea." Keeping all of my remarks to students positive is extremely important and the encouragement of creativity.

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  62. When we start a new concept, I have my students write down a question on a post-it note and place it on the front board. We discuss their questions and use the discussion to springboard into other thoughts, ideas, and inquiries. It allows students a basis for further research into topics.

    This works well in my mathematics class; however, I do find it difficult to change my mindset at times from that of a teacher/lecturer to the facilitator/encourager which I need to embrace for this strategy to be truly effective.

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  63. Natural wonder and geeky interest tips could easily be applied to how we utilize PLC time and provide PD. I would love to see genius hour or 20% time concept become part of a personalized PD program at some point in our district.

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  64. Students can be exposed to different events and problems through what they read. I work with students in small reading groups. Once a week I could have students read articles or watch videos about issues that kids their age are facing. Students could also be given time to blog or vlog about an issue.

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  65. The "Look, Listen, and Learn" reminded me of the K-W-L strategy. If time is too short to complete a entire Launch process, I think teachers can hook the students and then guide them to another group or organization working towards similar goals. For instance, John Green's Nerdfighters Project for Awesome. Connecting to an already established group will allow for students to have authentic audience and make a difference without having to create the wheel.

    As an instructional media specialist, I think the sentence stems can be used with adults. Before a training, I can send a few sentence stems out and ask for teachers to send me answers. This can then be the basis of our technology training - How can we use technology to design a process to achieve these goals?

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  66. As I was reading this chapter I kept thinking about how my kids would respond. I can just see my 4th graders getting so excited while we go through the listening step. I can just imagine them thinking about all the different things that they could do. I'm a resource teacher so I really like that there are sentence stems included, since they need something to help them get started. I would have to sit down with my student and go over the procedures. I teach Read 180 and there are projects at the end of each workshop. I feel like I could use the LAUNCH cycle to revamp the projects so that I start will a end goal and my students have to figure out how to get there.

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  67. I found the Look, Listen and Learn stage to be very interesting, but felt that the projects being discussed had little to do with math. It may sound good to compare cell phone plans, or do budgets, but in Algebra the concepts being discussed are dealing with slopes, quadratics, adding polynomials and such. Yes they are important for everyday processes, but I am not sure how to use them as a project to get my students interested in researching and learning more deeply. I have them doing a lot of graphing so that they see how an equation, quadratic, or inequality looks and that the numbers and variables in each has meaning beyond the equation. Just not sure how to get these same concepts into a project. Would really like to discuss some ideas with other math types, but generally see them doing the same types of things as I do. Yes I know that students need to feel more empathy for the concepts,just not sure how that works. I feel very uncreative this way. Looking for suggestions on how to make it work for math at a higher level.

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    1. I use an EV3 robot with elementary school students with a focus on a very strong foundation of learning to design, build and use the EV3 robot. The potential use in middle and high school math classes is unlimited. Students beg for more opportunities to use the the robots to learn. I am teaching math concepts (circumference, x and y axis, calculations with time, speed, and distance, angles, degrees, comparing and more) sometimes before they are learning them in the traditional classroom setting. The potential for application of higher level math skills is available through robotics. As an educator, it brings great joy to my day to watch their curiosity and learning take on a life of its own. I observe and listen to the room, and follow up with mini-tutorial clinics to facilitate and guide them. Students beg to teach the class new skills or debrief trial and error experiences or 'what would happen if' curiosities of changing a variable on a block setting. There are many robots to choose from. I use EV3 Lego Mindstorms, Sphero, Dot and Dash, and Edison. If you focus on math through programming, you can get by with fewer EV3 kits. The students can work driver/navigator style at a computer, sharing robots for downloading and running the programs. My nephew used the EV3 in a sophomore engineering class at Purdue. He was astounded to learn we are using them in an elementary classroom.

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    2. This fall, I attended a workshop that allows us to bring a kit of 25 spheros and 25 ollies to our school. I am very excited about how we can use these from K all the way up to 6th grade. K is obviously more exploration, but I believe on of my team members was already helping the 1st graders do some very basic programming!

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  68. After reading chapter 4, I went back to the pages that appeared to target what I saw as a "good fit" in my English/Language Arts classes. I first can focus awareness about a specific issue or problem. I can find a youtube video that really tugs at their hearts and leads to empathy, exploration, and a potential solution. Knowing that students don't have to approach the situation with deep empathy for those affected, they can start by researching that particular issue and possibly come up with ideas that could be a part of the solution. I would use some of the questions provided as well as the sentence stems to inquire about the causes and effect of this particular issue. Personal experience with this issue will connect them with real people. Now, to find a short story, news article or novel that will support this issue and I'll be on board to tackle the project. I really loved the idea of an inspirational video day which may be my best LAUNCH to start "geeky interest." This chapter helped eliminate some of my negativity, and scaled down the stress level of ISTEP testing.

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    1. I too, have found myself using videos to get students hooked and aware of social issues and world issues before launching a larger learning experience. I used this when studying North Korea and voting, free speech issues in those areas. I also liked the questions and stems provided. Sometimes middle schoolers have a hard time articulating what they want to say and the stems eliminate that issue, to a degree. I love your idea on using a video to launch "geeky interest". Maybe I can do this in my social studies class as well towards the end of the school year- I never thought of using it for the geeky interest way, and was racking my brain trying to think of how I can utilize more ways than the 2 I gravitated towards (#4 and #5). Thanks for the idea!

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  69. The Look, Listen, and Learn concept is, at times, difficult for me to implement - as a teacher and a parent. However, when I've been able to be quiet and listen, the kids always amaze me with their thought processes and ideas. Many classrooms/school systems today just aren't set up with this type of instruction. We are too caught up in teaching for testing, instead of teaching to prepare students for the real world - being creative, encouraging students to question their world, etc. I love the ideas that are being generated by this book club, and I'm getting so many ideas from the book and the other postings. I can't wait to keep trying them out!

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    1. In this case, being a Kindergarten teacher seems to be more of a benefit than an obstacle. We are more free to do this. Having taught 3rd grade for 13 years, I can definitely relate to the teaching for testing part!

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  70. Wow, this chapter was full of information, but finding how it fits in is another thing. I was able to relate #4 starting with empathy to what I am just finishing up. Early February for Black History Month, my 7th grade literacy classes started Russell Freedman's "Freedom Walkers", The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I have 80 students with a ratio of 15:1 white students to black students. After understanding the terms "segregation", "integration", and non-violent protesting, my students were able to get a feel of what was going on as we read. Watching the empathy in their expressions as I explained how Rosa Parks would get on the bus in the front, pay her fare, exit, and walk to the back to enter in the black section revealed to me that my classes were "all in" and very upset with the situation. As I continued with...sometimes the bus driver would take off before she was able to enter the back door, and she was left behind, the look on their faces was in disbelief. Early into the story, I began having students stay after class not knowing if they were going to be able to listen to the struggle of the black folks another day. I tried to comfort them by telling them this is part of our country's history and that the feelings they were experiencing were something to be proud of. It shows that they care about people regardless of their color. As time went on, they began to understand the pride in which the black folks shared, and appreciated their ability to persevere in a non-violent manner. February's themed activities definitely had my students looking, listening and becoming aware of a different time period. One in fact that they are glad to have missed out on. Curiosity in the beginning of the story soon turned to empathy and I am proud of the way they responded.

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  71. Empathy is the first stage of design thinking--an interesting idea! Awareness/wonder involve empathy, so I guess awareness/wonder would be the place to start. The path of wonder>inquiry>research>idea makes a lot of sense to me, so #2 of the Seven Ways... is where I would start in the limited amount of class time that I have with my students. I really liked the sentence/question stems, these would be useful with younger students or those that read below grade level, like the ones I work with. I also liked the idea of #5 for older students. Problem-solving is such an important skill and its usefulness extends beyond the classroom into the everyday world. #7: Geeky Interest, appears to be less doable?! I think this one would be hard to tie together with curriculum that must be covered, but I love the idea!

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    1. I like how the authors pointed out, however, that sometimes you'd be surprised at how many MORE standards were covered when you took on a project like this. I think I'd find my biggest obstacle to this would be taking the leap in the first place!

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  72. When teaching, I am always fascinated at the way in which my students' minds work. They ask the most interesting questions that I often do not know the answer to off-hand because I would have never thought to ask them before. This struck me when the authors used the example "how many packets of Jell-O would it take to fill the Pyramids of Giza." I am going to try putting a brainstorming day at the beginning of each unit. I will split the students into groups, give them our subject, some sample questions or sentence stems, and ask them to come up with a list of questions that they have about this subject. As a new teacher, I think this will not only help me teach them in a way that connects, but will continue to provide insight into what types of questions my students have about history that they might otherwise not ask. I always try to connect my lesson to current events and issues that relate directly to my students. Nevertheless, getting them engaged is often difficult. Hopefully by altering my lessons to answer the questions that they already have, I will be able to actively engage my students and get them asking even more questions.
    I am also thinking that when my students get ready to complete a project, it may be helpful to "know their audience." Perhaps I will have each student write down one question they have on a piece of poster paper and hang it in the room. Maybe this will help my students learn to think more creatively and help them realize what their audience is looking for when making presentations.

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  73. So, once again, I was thinking...this is great, but how do I apply it to Kindergarten. However, the farther I read, the more I realized that this was doable, but on a much smaller scale! Instead of changing the world, we work a lot on our "world" (our classroom community). We are learning about ourselves and how we interact with each other. That whole concept of what I needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten...in some cases, it's true! Instead of taking on homelessness or global warning, we work on being kind and thinking of others. We take on bullying on a much smaller scale. We are CONSTANTLY looking and listening and becoming aware of ourselves and our friends and the world around us.
    I have a student teacher this semester. During one of our visits from her supervising teacher, she (the student teacher) pointed out that she is having a hard time with the "global citizen" piece. We (the ST and myself) pointed out that "global" in the sense of Kindergarten is our own little sphere right here in the classroom. As I read on, I was reminded of this conversation. It's the same thing, not just on as grand a scale.

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    1. I agree. It does seem difficult to use in a K-2 classroom but with modifications I think it can be done. Love you thoughts about "classroom community."

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  74. I think with the techniques given and discussed it is hard for me to visualize how I would use them in my primary classroom. I do feel that it could be done whole group but individually I feel would be a struggle. I have a large class size and the time needed to devote to each student would be a challenge. I do feel that I could modify and simplify to make it more realistic to use in a primary classroom.

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  75. I really enjoyed reading chapter 4 about the first phase of the LAUNCH cycle, or the awareness piece. As a social studies teacher, I found myself as I read thinking of many ways in which I have used similar instances of the 7 examples of awareness methods the authors’ of the book described. Essentially, these “awareness” pieces in my undergraduate experience and in my district are more often known as “engagement” or the “hook” of the lesson-however, I now realize that it is important to have a “hook” for a project as well, not just for a simple 1 day lesson. Without this awareness piece and excitement, students will not want to complete the research phase and will not take pride in their work-they won’t see a real purpose. I really found myself gravitating towards particular awareness types the book described, more specifically way #4-Empathy Toward a Specific Group, and #5-Specific Problem that Needs Solved. I teach geography and world history, and part of my curriculum encompasses studying human rights, political, and environmental rights violations in the eastern hemisphere. I immediately gravitated to these two “awareness ways” because these ways fit so easily into my curriculum and state standards. For example, in a unit studying Africa, I could have students focus on the different groups in Africa, and the problems they face- such as black Africans in South Africa, child soldiers, and Darfur genocide victims. This would not only intrigue students, but help them demonstrate a deeper understanding of the content specific standards that focus on human rights issues. Furthermore, I also gravitated towards way #5 because as a history teacher there are endless lists of problems that people have experienced throughout global history that I have my students study. For example, I give the students the problem of free speech issues, such as in China, and students could think of how this affects everyone around the world. When studying the Middle East, world religions, and human rights issues, I could give students the problem of discrimination in education (inequality in educational opportunities for women), and students could name specific countries where this is an issue, how it affects the people there, the economy, others worldwide, and identify those who are fighting to fix it. I really think the “problem” awareness way is the one I gravitate to the most because many of my standards focus on issues and problems in the past, so I see this as something that can be seamlessly integrated into my existing curriculum. Before reading this chapter, I was planning on having my students study human rights issues. This would be a great way to have my students recognize a problem, the audience affected by it, develop empathy, and also create action plans to help solve the problem. The authors’ real life example of Project: Global Inform has inspired me and is a way I too can utilize my student’s curiosity to cover standards but also bring about change within our community. However, I am also keen to sit down and brainstorm how the other ways of “awareness” can fit into my curriculum.

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    1. I have some very similar thoughts as I teach similar classes.

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  76. As I was reflecting after reading this chapter, I made a list of different times that I have posed a question for my students prior to introducing a new unit. Once I put an ostrich egg on the table for kids to see as soon as they entered the room. I put a question with strips of paper for them to write their answers. The question was, "Do you think this item is interesting? Why or why not?"
    At the end of the day we shared their responses. The next morning I put a new question, "What animal do you think this is from?" I forgot how excited they got by this questioning activity! When I introduced the unit of Animal Adaptations, the kids were so engaged and intrigued! I was so glad to remember how important questions are after reading this chapter and plan to incorporate them more often in my classroom.

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  77. I teach 9th grade English (where our big works are To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet) and 11th grade Honors World Literature (where we read 8 different plays, novels, and memoirs from around the world). I feel like To Kill a Mockingbird deals with many social and justice issues that would make it easy for students to look, listen, and become aware of how those issues (or similar issues) are still prevalent today. We usually study the novel with a focus on 6 thematic ideas (such as empathy, racism, injustice, stereotypes, etc).

    I could have students do an inquiry based project based on one of those thematic ideas (or another one of their own choosing) to create an open-ended question that they are interested in as well as then research the answer to it. Students who choose the topic of racism could ask something like “How does race still play a role in our justice system today?” This would fall under category #4 (Start with Awareness about a Specific Issue).

    Or more specifically, I have an autistic student that many other students think is “weird.” One other girl in particular has expressed empathy for him and wants to help other kids understand that he’s not just “weird” and that we should embrace each others’ differences. She was very excited about this idea after meeting Boo Radley (the “weird” misunderstood man at the end of To Kill a Mockingbird); she thought that if Scout could learn to empathize with him, that we could teach high school students to empathize with students with Autism or other special needs. This would fall under category #5 (Start with Empathy Toward a Specific Group).

    I feel like the novels we read in World Literature would lend themselves even more naturally for students to become aware of specific social issues on an international level, but I’ll probably talk more about those in later weeks.

    On a side note, I got VERY behind on this blog and almost quit because my brother had brain surgery and has been in the hospital for almost a month. He’s going to be ok eventually (thank goodness) and I now have time to catch up on this blog over my spring break. I’m glad I decided to continue with it because it is giving me great ideas for how to finish the school year strong!

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  78. Even if you don't do the Look, Listen, and Learn as a beginning point for a LAUNCH project, it certainly has value for developing interest, curiosity, or empathy at the beginning of any unit. These seven ways to tap students' awareness are very useful for any subject matter. I can see using (which I already do to some extent) several of these ways to spark that interest teachers are always hoping for into some topic. When we hit a topic that students are curious about, it amazes me the many questions they have. Their minds start moving in overdrive. I need to use this energy to develop a LAUNCH cycle project for my class. There are many issues that we look at world-wide that I think students can apply/feel at our local level as well.

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  79. I like to bring novels into my classroom that offer a variety of ways for my students to see and understand the world around them. For example with one of my classes we are reading the book "Stargirl". It's about being different and learning to be accepted for who you are. At the end of almost every chapter I have the students predict what will happen next. We also often times pretend we are one of the characters and we discuss how we would act. I do my best to get students involved in the story, instead of just having them read and answer questions. I really like reading novels that teach lessons and offer empathy to specific groups because kids can be mean and I feel that teaching students to have empathy for others is important. We live in a fairly rural community and our culture isn't really diverse so I try to add different types of diversity in my classroom so students can have a better understanding of solving problems in the real world.

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