1. Giving students control of the classroom

Giving students control of the classroom

Follow along as Nicholas “The Nerdy Teacher” Provenzano provides ideas and insights to help students, parents and teachers be more productive learners all year long.


  • I've been thinking about my learning objectives lately. I'm going for the Highly Effective rating this year for my evaluation and while I've been doing very well in many of the categories, there are some that I still needed to enhance. One of those areas is the role of students in my classroom. I'm a big advocate for student choice but I wanted to explore other places I could enable students to have a voice. Learning objectives seemed like a good place.

  • Traditionally, I decide the focus of each lesson and unit and how the students are going to approach a certain piece of literature. I post this information on Evernote and share it with students at the start of class. I feel this is a pretty standard approach to setting up a lesson for many teachers but having students select the learning objective turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be.

  • We were starting our Emily Dickinson unit and I wanted my students to do some research on her life. I gave the students 8 parts of her life to explore (Childhood, Education, Religion, Health, Relationships, Family & Social, Adult Life, Writing Career, and Death). Students split these areas up with others at the table and spent the class period doing research. They were to come to class the next day and share their findings.

  • On the next day, students were instructed to discuss their findings and decide on what they thought were the five most influential events in Emily Dickinson's life. They were to place these five events on Post-it® Super Sticky Notes provided on their desks.

    students were instructed to discuss their findings and decide on what they thought were the five most influential events in Emily Dickinson's life

  • The students discussed their research and started to write out their thoughts on the top five events. Once they were done, they had to place them on the dry erase board. I set up the board with five slots that matched the color of the Post-it® Super Sticky Notes they were given. It was so nice to be able to color code the information using the Post-it® Super Sticky Notes.

    The students discussed their research and started to write out their thoughts on the top five events

  • Once all of the ideas are placed on the board, the class looked at them and discussed them all. Each class had their own ideas and they explained them in different ways. It made for a more interesting class each time for me instead of leading the same discussion multiple times. This really let the students take the lead and that was the whole point of the exercise.

    Once all of the ideas are placed on the board, the class looked at them and discussed them all

  • When the dust settled, different classes chose different learning objectives. The students are invested in the class discussion because they have ownership of their learning objective. They will be the ones that are going to lead class discussion because they know exactly how they are going to approach the topic because they chose it. I really see this as a great way to get more students involved in class ownership and look forward to trying out in other units.

  • Tools Used:

    Post-it® Notes have always been a big part of my life. I use them for so many different things, there really isn't time to go over them all. Post-It® Super Sticky Notes allowed me to quickly get the information from my students and have them share it with the rest of their table and then place it on the board for easy grouping. The Post-it® Super Sticky Notes were perfect and stayed securely to the whiteboard in the back of my room. I think teachers all over use Post-It® Notes and there are tons of fun and creative ways to use them in the classroom.

  • I am a compensated 3M-sponsored blogger. Opinions are my own and additional products used in the project were selected by me.


  • Nicholas

    Nicholas “The Nerdy Teacher” Provenzano is a Google Certified Teacher who has earned acclaim for using innovative and collaborative techniques within his classroom. Keep up with his ideas at
    www.thenerdyteacher.com.

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