My Reign is Over by Kevin Creutz #30Goals

Part of the series: The 30 Goals Challenge, Goal 13: Give Students Reign

Kevin Creutz took the 30 Goals Challenge in January, please read these incredible post about his journey with Goal 13: Give Students Reign….

Shelly Terrell challenged teachers with the following statement as part of her 30 Days, 30 Goals challenge. She said, “Allow your students to have complete control over one class period. Have them choose the material and the way they want to present the material. Just trust them and see what they create.” Before I read Shelly’s post, I had a lesson plan ready for each of my classes today. The lesson plans, for the most part, were completely the opposite idea of what Shelly is trying to get across. They were teacher centered with little interaction and student ownership. So, I decided to trash those lesson plans. The students walked into class today and I gave them complete reign over the lesson. Here is what happened.

I teach two math classes that have a combined 35 students. I split the class into small groups and gave them approximately 5 minutes to come up with a proposal for today’s classroom activity. Most of the groups came up with some type of game that reviewed previous material we have covered. Each class voted on which game they wanted to play and we then spent the rest of the class period playing that game. At the end of the period, I gave them a five question evaluation of the class. Here are some of their responses on the evaluation.

-34 out of 35 students said they would like to do the same activity again.
-14 out of 35 students used the word ‘fun’ when asked to finish the statement, “I liked class today because…”
-The two most common suggestions for integrating technology into lessons were using YouTube and using clickers (individual response cards)
-When asked how they could make the activity better, 2 students responded with…

-I would like more time to solve problems
-We moved too fast for me to understand some of the problems
-When asked why they liked class today, some common responses included…
-We had a choice
-We didn’t just sit in our desks the whole class
-It was fun and not “old-schooled”
-It was a break from homework and “regular stuff”
-It was more fun than just staring at the SMART Board
-When asked what other ideas they had for class activities, some students said…
-Give us more problems to work on in a group
-Give us more challenge problems
-Let’s go outside to play a game. We can get exercise and learn at the same time

Today was off the cuff, outside the box, and completely random for me. An observer sitting in the classroom today would not describe these two classes as perfect. However, this imperfect lesson helped me grow today as an educator. (See my previous post for a discussion about perfect lessons.) I have grown because I learned about a few games that students like to play. I also have grown because I have feedback from the students that lets me know what interests them and what might challenge them. Most importantly, I have grown because my students experienced some new opportunities and ownership over a lesson. My reign is ending. The students are taking over.

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Kevin Creutz
Kevin Creutz is assistant principal and athletic director at Zion Lutheran School in St. Charles, Missouri. He also teaches junior high math and coaches boys’ basketball. He has been at Zion for seven years and during that time he has taught religion, literature, math, and PE. The last three years have been spent as assistant principal. He has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Concordia University in Chicago, IL and an M.A. in Educational Administration from Concordia University in Seward, NE. Kevin has been married to his beautiful wife Lauren for 6 years and they have two children. Caroline is 2 ½ years old and Connor is 7 months old. He is an avid sports fan and follows Chicago sports, including the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. You can follow Kevin on twitter at http://twitter.com/kevcreutz and on his blog at http://kcreutz.blogspot.com.

Challenge:
Try Kevin’s challenge and give students reign for a day!

Download your free copy of The 30 Goals Challenge: Join the Movement e-book!

Don’t forget to leave a comment that you accomplished this goal using the hashtag #30Goals!

Submit a guest post for The 30 Goals Challenge Series!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations

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