Bright Ideas About Bright Ideas

I had a bright idea. I keep reading these Bright Ideas posts and am forever thinking "Wow, what a great idea!" or "Why didn't I think of that?" Then I realized that I have those same thoughts each day in my classroom when a student comes up with the most profound, yet simple statement.  It happens a lot throughout the day.  Don't you agree?  That is what inspired this Bright Ideas post this month: celebrating bright ideas of our students.

As a teacher I'm sure you can appreciate that we are all good at something. Maybe your strength is teaching Math or Writing or Art.  Kids also have strengths. So how do we use their strengths to increase engagement and learning and move away from the teacher directed learning without feeling that we have lost our "control"? I think maybe it might be all in the mindset.

Most of us teachers do some front loading with celebrating each individual student.

 A couple of years ago I invited a wonderful aunt of one of my students in who had a dog specially trained in helping those with anxiety.  It was wonderful to see how my students could relate to these feelings and know that others do too.  This special dog made a big impact on my class.  She also helped students to take learning risks and share their bright ideas with others.

Other ways to celebrate student bright ideas are:  through writing and illustrating a class book together as a team...

...through explorations together of common interests....

Through subliminal advertising.  (Just kidding!  I saw this and loved it!)

Last year I worked on primary passion projects.   When students are aware of their strengths and interests, you might want to try this.  I've written about this before because it was so eye opening and fun!   Here students made passion pockets to hold all of their wonderful trinkets and ideas for each week. 

I loved how students shared in everyone's personal pocket.

It's important in teaching today to allow students to learn about things they are interested in.  Even their home reading is a project on a book they've picked.  Sometimes this transfers over into their passion projects too. Clay penguins, sharks, magnets - such fun!

It wasn't until the other day when I was on Twitter that I saw this quote in a tweet from Kendrick Phillips "What Did you Ask at School Today?" by physicist Richard Fenyman.  Indeed!  We always ask our own kids or have exit slips to see what kids have learned BUT how about putting the onus on them to be an active part of learning?  I love this!! This might help the passive learner to be more active and further promote inquiry learning.

I end this post with a poem by Kendrick Phillips called Twas the Night Before School Starts that sums up my thoughts about student bright ideas. :)

T'was the Night Before School Starts

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For more bright ideas from more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Wow, what a great post! I have several incredible tricks that have been taught to me by students! What would we do without them? Thanks for sharing!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  2. Shelley you packed so many great ideas into one post! Those passion pockets are gorgeous - no wonder they are proud of them!
    Whimsy Workshop Teaching


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