Joy Kirr, a National Board Certified teacher, is sought after for her workshops on how to bring student-directed learning into the classroom. Joy is passionate about students owning their own learning, and has even gone so far as to be the first at her school to try learning without using marks. She enjoys being known as a “Genius Hour Evangelist,” and is grateful for how her students have stepped up their learning while giving and receiving feedback in lieu of grades. Along with being a full-time seventh grade ELA teacher, Joy presents around the nation spreading the message that educators need to strive for all children to become lifelong learners.
Joy was nominated for a Golden Apple award in 2016 for excellence and teaching. In 2017 she was a Spotlight Speaker at the ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) conference, and a Featured Speaker at the University School of Milwaukee’s Summer Spark conference. She has both undergraduate (special education with an emphasis on deaf and hard of hearing) and graduate (reading specialist) degrees from Northern Illinois University. Teaching since 1995, she shares reasons WHY along with HOW she’s shifted her own teaching over the years in her presentations and in her book Shift This! How to Implement Gradual Changes for Massive Impact in Your Classroom.
Bring the Shift This! Message to Your Organization or Event:
Shift the Culture of Your Classroom
It all started when I gave students time to read – and then share what they were reading. Simple enough, right?! This was the catalyst that sparked the change in everything I did in the classroom. Four years later, you wouldn’t recognize my classes. I don’t decorate the room, student choice is ubiquitous, we have time built in to personalize learning, students teach each other, and we use feedback in lieu of grades. Join me as I share valuable lessons learned when I dedicated time during the week for students to learn what THEY wanted to learn.
Teachers Navigating Social Media (small group work)
Social media has a place in your classroom, no matter your age or how busy you are. Whether you only lurk or explore, or whether you’d like to connect with classrooms and experts via video conferencing, social media is your ticket! The tool we call Twitter is a great place to start. Learn how to create an account, “follow” without following, and share and connect. Go a step further and get your students involved so you can help teach them how to navigate the massive waters of social media.
Feedback in Lieu of Grading
Why would anyone want to mess with current grading systems? Begin by learning the reasons WHY I went from typical grading to feedback only in my own classroom. Stay only if you want to learn ways HOW you can try this with your students, and stay even longer to work on ways you can give feedback only using a traditional grading system. I’ll continue this way until my district adopts Standards-Based Grading.
What’s the Hoopla Over Personalized Learning?
What’s the big hoopla over Genius Hour and other forms of student-directed learning? Why hand over precious class time to the students? This session focuses on the many reasons WHY you should make time for student-directed learning in your classroom. If you are armed with the reasons why, you’ll have no choice but to jump in yourself. Hold on tight for the journey ahead, and the shifts that will ultimately transform the rest of your teaching career!
Two-hour Workshop Session:
Why take time out of your curriculum for students to own the learning? You’ll have time during this workshop to hammer out reasons WHY student-directed learning such as Genius Hour is vital. Time will also be used to explore comprehensive resources and create a plan for your classroom or school so students can pursue their passions. We’ll figure out specific ways to tackle any obstacles together.
Listen to an audio podcast interview with Joy Kirr: