Heather Wolpert-Gawron

PBL Secret Sauce #3: Aligning the Standards to Your PBL Unit

By on October 24, 2017

 

Here’s my new screencast showing two ways I ensure that any unit I design or adapt is aligned to our required standards. In a nutshell:

  1. Plan around a particular standard and design with that standard(s) in mind from the get-go.
  2. Design the unit that engages you, the teacher, and your students.  Then, look at the standards, check off those the unit hits, and then go back and fill in the gaps.

Remember, if you’re a history, science, or math teacher, you should be doing this exercise with not only your content standards, but with the literacy, listening, speaking, and writing standards as well! You’ll be shocked at how many cross-curricular standards you are hitting!

 

 

PBL Secret Sauce #2: Student-Generated Questions

PBL Secret Sauce #2: Student-Generated Questions

By on September 21, 2017

For Part II in my PBL video series, I thought I’d share how I integrate student-generated questions throughout the sequence of the unit.  In other words, the students generate the prompts that help propel them along the PBL journey. This

A Book Review From My Students: Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School

A Book Review From My Students: Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School

By on September 20, 2017

PBL is about meaningful learning, and sometimes that means keeping my antennae up to identify possible ways to bring that authenticity to my students. Sometimes, however, an opportunity falls into my lap. Such is the case with this book review

PBL Secret Sauce #1: The Entry Level Event

By on September 19, 2017

I know that when teachers learn about Project Based Learning, many times they walk away with the rationale, the research, and the overview of what a unit might look like.  But sometimes teachers still have questions about the day-to-day implementation.

Prepping for Open House Right From the Start: The Classroom as a Portfolio

Prepping for Open House Right From the Start: The Classroom as a Portfolio

By on September 9, 2017

So it’s the beginning of the year. You’ve probably spent a few out-of-contract days setting up your classroom to look ready for the masses. You’ve hung brightly colored bulletin boards and surrounded them with stapled up content-related borders. The same

ADVICE FOR A TWEEN PARENT (ME) FROM A TWEEN TEACHER (ALSO ME)

By on August 16, 2017

My kid is now deep into his 11th year on this planet, and as such, will begin middle school tomorrow. Now, with my area of expertise, you’d expect me to find some relief in this fact; after all, up until

End-Of-Year Reflection: The Epic Poem Haiku

By on May 17, 2017

As we’re ending the school year, I know that the tween brains in my classroom are all silently deciding what information will be transferred to long-term memory and what will forever be taken out with the trash. To hopefully avoid

Abstract Concept to Concrete Awareness: 3DPrinting to Teach Growth Mindset

Abstract Concept to Concrete Awareness: 3DPrinting to Teach Growth Mindset

By on February 16, 2017

One of the things I like about 3d Printing in middle school is that it makes the abstract more concrete. Middle schoolers need that because of where their brain is at developmentally. They straddle the threshold from concrete thinking to

The Ultimate Screencasting Guide for Teachers and Students

The Ultimate Screencasting Guide for Teachers and Students

By on November 11, 2016

Lately, I’ve been getting really deep into Screencasting, in particular for my English Language Learners and special ed students. I know it’s been around, and we’ve all heard about it, but finding resources out there that make it concrete can

The Internet Research Game & 3D Printing: No Whammies!

The Internet Research Game & 3D Printing: No Whammies!

By on October 25, 2016

So in an attempt to broaden the use of the 3D printers in my room, beyond that of my Maker-themed ELA class, I thought I’d leverage the curiosity for the devices as an incentive for my additional classes. That way,

7 Steps to Help Students Succeed on Assessments

By on October 9, 2016

This year, I was given a class of LTELs (long-term English Language Learners) and recently exited SPED students with the goal of focusing my lesson implementation on engagement and more social-emotional learning. So we’re leading up to our first grade-level

Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Using Pokemon Go in my 3D Printing/ELA Class

By on August 21, 2016

I’ve written before about the power of using pop culture in the classroom, and this fall will be no different in Room 1. Admittedly, I can’t say I’m a huge Pokemon fan. It’s one of the cartoons I limit in my

Lessons to Share: 3D Printing and Design to Learn Reading & Writing

By on June 17, 2016

So I just finished my first week with my Make Writing class.  This class, as I’ve written about in the past, is intended to help those long-term EL students who have become disengaged with school and with learning.  These kids

The Argh Wall! Celebrating Failure in the Classroom: A Lesson For Writing & Making

By on May 15, 2016

So, I’ve been writing lately about my new class that I’m developing for next year called Make Writing.  I’ve been writing curriculum for this class that leverages 3D printing in order to teach Literacy and Writing.  The class itself is

Past, Present, Future: Assessments and Technology

By on April 2, 2016

“Grading, in kids’ brains, parents’ brains, administrators’ brains, and even teachers’ brains, is a final snapshot after which there is no beyond.  But if we can start thinking about assessments as a means to drive feedback, NOW you’re on to something.”

Alternative Strategies for Assessing Learning: Larry Ferlazzo Classroom Q & A Podcast

By on March 30, 2016

“Whether they’re doing a portfolio or a performance task, they still want to see How do I stack up?” I had a lot of fun being interviewed for Larry Ferlazzo’s podcast about alternatives to grading and traditional assessments.  The follow-up

Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement

By on March 10, 2016

Hey, middle school and high school teachers and parents!  Can you do me a favor? I am polling thousands of kids nationwide on what engages them the most in how they learn.  This is based on a survey of 500

Pencils to 3D-Printers: A New Kind of Language Arts Class

By on February 7, 2016

  “The printers have been ordered.  Fingers crossed.  Here we go…..” This was the email I received two weeks ago from my principal who is working with me to develop a whole new kind of Language Arts class.  The plan

Eeny, Meeny, Mino, Moe: Which 3D Printer Should We Own?

By on January 27, 2016

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the start of my journey to create a Language Arts and ELD class that leveraged 3D printing as a means to initiate a more purposeful curriculum for reading and writing.  I will be

5 Nonfiction Articles + Novels Series: Middle School Edition (Jan.)

By on January 20, 2016

Mutually Beneficial Animal Relationships (Photos) Written by: Huffington Post Staff Published On: The Huffington Post “The ostrich isn’t very good at smelling, while the zebra can smell pretty well. The zebra though, doesn’t have good eyesight, but the ostrich does.