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Empower: What Happens When Student Own Their Learning
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Empower: What Happens When Student Own Their Learning

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Kids begin their learning journey as curious problem solvers who ask questions and create solutions. As they go through school, something happens to many of our students, and they begin to play the game of school, eager to be compliant and follow a path instead of making their own.

As teachers, leaders, and parents, we have the opportunity to be the guide in our kids’ edu
Kindle Edition, 266 pages
Published June 28th 2017 by IMPress, LP
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Kara Belden
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 This is a super quick read that has inspired my teaching and given me so much to think about. I strongly feel that every educator should give this book a chance. Unexpectedly, the discussions surrounding this book have been even more powerful than the book itself. The book is pitched as empowering students, but the book also empowers teachers. I will now forever ask myself, "What decisions am I making for students that they could make for themselves?"
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book and the validation that it gave me that I’m doing something right in my classroom. I learned a tremendous amount from the book, but also silently high-fived myself when I read scenarios or ideas that I’m already using in my teaching! A good read for people who really want to focus on what’s important for students in school!
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
LORD JESUS THERE IS SO MUCH REDUNDANCY IN THIS BOOK!!!! The overall topic is great, the purpose is also great HOWEVER, the first 6 chapters to me, were all literally repeating the SAME THING but with a different title and I found passages that used even the same words!! Lol smh I did however pull out lots of good information, especially in chapters 7,8 and 12, that I plan to implement. Smh great topic but I feel the creativity in the makeup of the book was to hide the redundant points being made ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
I love the format of the book and the tone is sincere, passionate, and appealing. In my opinion, the content basically consists of cheerleading for a new way of teaching (think Genius Hour, 20% time, etc...) and arguments for breaking with the old, traditional ways of instructional delivery. And while I'm in complete agreement, I've been in that heart and mind space for years. The authors admit that this book is not an instruction manual, which is not what I was looking for in the first place, b ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Every time I get suckered into buying these books hoping one of them will actually show me HOW to do the things their titles promise. This is another book that outlines what we would like our classrooms to be like but fails to tell us how to take even small steps to accomplish it. I’ve done Genius Hour, but I need ways to go deeper into empowering students to be self-motivated learners. This doesn’t help at all.
Rita Shaffer
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the discussions of the district-wide book study around this book and am excited to see the projects people are working on!

There were several great reminders about what is best for student learning and I enjoyed the authors' writing styles.

Fellow educators, I think the topics in the book are things we should be thinking hard about!
Amie Burton
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A super easy read that reinvigorates the reason to teach. I do love that as a counselor I now get to assist in “the system fitting the student instead of the student fitting the system.” Also a great book to use to help anyone LAUNCH a new learning venture.
Melody Riggs
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a good read. It was general enough to apply to any subject and also practical enough to show that sometimes students (and teachers) are limited by standards and tests, but they can still be empowered anyway.
Jack Adams
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic.
I have been questioning a lot of things to do with teaching recently. This book has inspired me to try a lot of new, exciting things to try help motivate the learners in my classroom.

Hoping to push forward and implement things soon!
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Empower: What happens when students own their learning" is a great resource for educators. With a great layout and style, authors John Spencer and AJ Juliani share helpful and relevant information to guide educators in their quest for student ownership and leadership.

I did enjoy "Launch", their previous text, more than "Empower", but still a highly-motivating educational read that I would recommend to all educators.
Kris Patrick
To borrow from a metaphor from the text, Empower isn’t my flavor of Baskin Robbins 31 ice cream ... but I can appreciate the power that books like this one can have as nudges for change.
Nicole Mayberry
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is basically a TEDTalk - a lot of words, enthusiasm, and only a few actual suggestions. It basically was a plug for their website that...well...isn’t available any longer. Cool drawings. Nice sentiments. Not very helpful.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring message, but otherwise it's a bunch of fluff.
"We are guides on the ride. Think of each school year as a journey. What will our journey be this year? We're all a part of this epic journey. We all learn from each other."

The Why
Truth #1: Every child deserves to own their learning.
Truth #2: Empowering students transforms social/human connections.
Truth #3: Stories will always have us. Empower students to create and share their learning stories.
Truth #4: The only thing you can prepare students for is an unpredictable world.
Naryn Searcy
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and found it both inspirational and practical. As a teacher it made me reflect on the amount of choice I provide in my classes (not enough at the moment) and reminded me of the responsibility we have as educators to provide students with the opportunities to develop skills such as self-starting, self-managing, risk-taking, creating, and reflecting that will prepare them for an undefined and constantly changing future. As an administrator I appreciated the short bursts of text ...more
Noel Raggio
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Had to read this for my new job. It is an easy read with lots of pictures and enough repetition that you remember the main points. I can totally see how it would make kids more excited about learning, but is totally against the grain of the memorization style that we used in my education. I can totally see how a combination of this method along with some having to trudge through and do something you aren't excited about would be a good complete education. The hope is that the kids will pursue so ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I seem to be in the minority but while I felt that some of what the authors were saying was true and relevant I didn't find many useful ways to apply it to my subject area. I guess it also made me question my relevance as a teacher as the books premise in some ways seems to be we need to teach kids how to learn and develop a mentality that allows failing in the path to success because they are going to have non traditional future careers. I started teaching because I love my content area and so ...more
This book was a quick perfect educational read over a school vacation week. As a school librarian, it made me reflect on how much I encourage students to research what they are passionate about. What do they want to learn about and how can they find the information they need to learn it? This book strongly encourages educators to allow time for students to find something that they want to learn about within your curriculum framework and to have them pursue it and to provide students with more ch ...more
Cindy Wise
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book because it helped me think about ways to get students to own their learning. Here was my big takeaway:

my job as a teacher is to prepare students for anything....the world is unpredictable so rather than focusing on specific content, its important for me to teach "how to learn", how to be curious enough to find answers, where to look, where to go, how to decide if something you find is a good source or not.

My other questions I still have to mill through on this--For
Katie Seehusen
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Empower was an interesting read that challenges the way we do school. How do we get students more invested in their learning so that they become more intrinsically motivated? How can we help students to be more invested in what they are learning? How do we help students to choose how to demonstrate what they know and what they've learned? How do encourage students to be ok with failing and get back up and try again? These were many of the big questions that this book posed. These are big ideas a ...more
Danielle Glewwe
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book! It was very thought-provoking, and a great book for a teacher who wants to take the next step to creating a truly student-centered classroom. The authors made it very clear that this was their personal story and experiences, and wouldn't be peer-reviewed or full of data. Very true! I think the big thing to remember is small daily changes make the biggest differences. What I've taken from this book is that I still need to continue taking steps to personalize for my students. ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Like reading the field notes of innovative educators! The format is inviting and the stories Spencer and Juliani use to illustrate their experiences and learning are heartwarming (and sometime hilarious).
I also had the privilege to hear A.J. Juliani speak at an event about rethinking the high school experience, and he brought to life the applications of the guiding principles of the book.
Well worth a read if you are a teacher, a workshop leader, a coach, or anyone who has ever given any advice
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
What I enjoyed most about the book is that it was not "preachy". They gave you ideas on ways to empower your students and offer more student-directed learning and choice but understand the constraints that teachers are under and why you have to test the waters first before you can jump in. As a specialty area teacher (technology) I have much more freedom in what I teach and these ideas are more accessible in my classroom. However, I look forward to sharing these ideas with all of my colleagues n ...more
Rebecca Allen
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
The reviews which describe this as a fast read aren’t wrong. About half of the volume of the book is clip art of things like lightbulbs to symbolize kids having good ideas. A large proportion of the rest is redundant. Literally on page 101, there is finally some content other than just cheering for the idea of students having more opportunities to creatively apply their learning in meaningful ways. Maybe this book has sparked some great discussions between colleagues, but as a stand-alone work i ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not at all your typical professional development read, and I mean that in the best way possible! It is entertaining, user-friendly, thought-provoking, and inspiring in so many amazing ways. It's a book that caused the wheels in my head to turn with ideas throughout the whole book, and a book I couldn't put down until it was done. It reads like an uplifting and empowering conversation instead of a script or manual. A must-read for those involved in education!
Sarah Grimm
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book about empowering your students to own their learning. As an Early Childhood administrator, I found the tie to early childhood so prevalent as this is what early childhood is and should always be about. Students following their own learning path and creating, making and doing as they learn along the way. I would reccomend this book to any educator or administrator in education. It is a thought provoking and uplighting book!
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Empower is a great read to rejuvenate and kick start your teaching. I have been teaching for 15 years and find that it is always good to reflect on your teaching methods and approach to teaching with the ever changing world around us. This book gave great insight to the current trends in teaching with some great strategies on how to tackle the trends.

I also enjoyed the graphics and personal connections in the reading.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though some of the ideas expressed in this book seem like common sense, it was still worth the read, and it has only affirmed my love of teaching. Before reading Empower, I was debating on designating one day a week for “Tinker” time in my classroom. I didn’t realize this is what is now deemed “Genius Hour” in public education. Thus, what I gained from reading this are tangible methods for getting this process off the ground, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Don Watkins
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Read it in a day because it was so exciting. I got a lot of great ideas and it caused me to reflect on my own methods. I've used some of the ideas in the book before and felt my classroom and teaching was chaotic. I thought that meant I wasn't a good teacher and it embarrassed me somewhat. Students loved my classes and told me so after they left. Now I know that I empowered them to be owners of their own learning. I highly recommend this book.
Katie Rutledge
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book really challenged my thinking about my classroom. My students are generally engaged, but this book made me question what I can do to push them to own their learning. Students need to own both the content and the process in order to be empowered learners. This book gave me lots to think about as I look ahead to the next school year. I'm excited to start implementing some new projects that open up the opportunity for students to drive their learning.
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