Erin Jewell is an English teacher at Cobb Middle School in Frisco, Texas.
Erin is in her 18th year of teaching and is currently a middle school gifted and talented Teacher in Frisco, Texas. Previously, she taught high school English in Frisco, Mesquite, and DeSoto, Texas. She has a master’s in educational leadership from Lamar University in Texas and is currently earning her Master’s of Library Sciences at the University of North Texas.
“Start small with Challenge Based Learning Nano-Challenges. I will put a topic and guiding question on the board and set the timer for 10 or 15 minutes. Students work in groups to solve the problem using visuals and words to explain their answer to the challenge. Nano-Challenges build confidence in critical thinking and problem solving. Students also have a low-stress place to practice working with other students in groups. I love the pride students have in a product that literally takes minutes to create. I like to reference back to Nano-Challenge successes when students feel stuck in a longer challenge because they are using the same skills on a larger scale.
Another great way to use a Nano-Challenges is to introduce or remind about a learning objective. I’ll ask students, ‘Why do we learn about ______?’ and they have to prove why it is important and relevant. It is a great shift in learning because it’s not just me as the teacher saying, ‘this is important,’ but students identify why a skill or topic is important before we review it as a class. It puts kids in the driver’s seat to their learning experiences.”
“Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle. Penny Kittle believes all students are readers and writers. She builds deep relationships with all of her students, allowing her to coach kids through reading and writing conferences to be stronger readers and writers than they ever thought possible. In addition to her strong reading and writing coaching, she taught me to bring video reflections into the classroom — a practice I still do today.”
“Reach out to me if you have questions about Challenge Based Learning. It’s my favorite thing to share with my students.”
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