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About A.J. Juliani
A.J. Juliani is the author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestseller, Adaptable: How to Create an Adaptable Curriculum and Flexible Learning Experiences That Work in Any Environment. His previous titles include Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning, LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student, Inquiry & Innovation in the Classroom, and The PBL Playbook.
A.J. Juliani serves as Faculty for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PLN) and former Director of Learning and Innovation for Centennial School District. As a Curriculum coordinator, Tech Director, English teacher, football coach, and K-12 Instructional Coach, A.J. has worked towards innovative learning experiences for schools in various roles.
A.J. is the author of books centered around student-agency, choice, innovative learning, and engagement. As a parent of five children, A.J. believes we must be intentional about innovation in order to create a better future of learning for all of our students. You can connect with A.J. on his blog, located at ajjuliani.com, or through Twitter (@ajjuliani) and Instagram (@learningwithaj).
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Books By A.J. Juliani
As teachers, leaders, and parents, we have the opportunity to be the guide in our kids’ education and unleash the creative potential of each and every student. In a world that is ever changing, our job is not to prepare students for something; instead, our role is to help students prepare themselves for anything.
In Empower, A.J. Juliani and John Spencer provide teachers, coaches, and administrators with a roadmap that will inspire innovation, authentic learning experiences, and practical ways to empower students to pursue their passions while in school.
Compliance is expecting students to pay attention. Engagement is getting students excited about our topics, interests, and curriculum. But when we empower students, they crave learning that is both meaningful and relevant to their life, now and in the future.
Empower is for you if …
• You are a teacher eager to get students making, designing, and creating their own learning path in (and out of) the classroom
• You are a superintendent, district administrator, or principal who is leading change and working to help your staff thrive in a twenty-first-century learning environment
• You are a coach, staff developer, or teacher leader who is crafting professional learning experiences and wants to encourage colleagues to be the guide on the ride
Empower is focused not only on what happens when students own their learning but also on how to reach a place where that is possible in the midst of standards, set curriculum paths, and realities of school that we all have to deal with. Written by real educators who are still working in schools and with teachers, Empower will provide ways to overcome these challenges and turn them into opportunities for our learners to be unabashedly different and remarkable.
Join the conversation online using the hashtag #EmpowerBook and learn more at EmpowerBook.co.
It's been happening in pockets for so long, that now those groups of teachers and leaders are starting to bring in new teachers and new leaders to build a true culture of learning that looks and feels different.
It's taking shape as a revolution of sorts (but not some type of education reform) that is beginning to make its way into every school and every classroom.
The textbooks are no longer "good enough", and the multiple-choice tests are no longer "good enough", and the lectures are no longer "good enough" for our kids.
We've seen what can happen when students are presented with a problem to solve, a challenge to overcome.
We've seen what can happen when students have learning experiences that are both relevant and meaningful to them as an individual and citizen.
We've seen what can happen when students own their learning, have a choice in the process and performance task, and get to choose how they can demonstrate understanding.
Project-based learning (PBL) is no longer relegated to gifted classrooms, honors classes, and exploratory specials. PBL is an active piece of the K-12 learning experience, found in every subject, in every grade level, and in every part of curricula and scope and sequences.
PBL is taking over traditional finals and mid-terms as the performance task. It is showing up as HOW you teach the unit, instead of only an ending project to the unit. PBL is growing because it engages and empowers students to learn experientially and share that learning in new and unique ways that go well beyond the classroom.
Yet, many teachers are asking: How do we plan and implement PBL? How do we "fit it in" our current curriculum? How do we assess it using our current grading guidelines? How do we manage this type of learning?
These are all real concerns and questions that cannot be dismissed. PBL takes time to plan, implement, manage, and assess. Then it takes time to tweak, improve, and highlight.
In The PBL Playbook, we dive into specific answers to all those questions, and what PBL looks like in each grade level and subject area!
The PBL Playbook is right for you if:
You are a teacher ready to move towards an authentic learning experience for your students.
You are a superintendent, district administrator, or principal who is leading a school through project-based learning.
You are a coach, staff developer, or teacher leader that wants to help guide colleagues into PBL with a gameplan that works.
Something happens in students when they define themselves as makers and inventors and creators. They discover powerful skills—problem-solving, critical thinking, and imagination—that will help them shape the world’s future … our future.
If that’s true, why isn’t creativity a priority in more schools today?
Educators John Spencer and A.J. Juliani know firsthand the challenges teachers face every day: School can be busy. Materials can be scarce. The creative process can seem confusing. Curriculum requirements can feel limiting. Those challenges too often bully creativity, pushing it to the side as an “enrichment activity” that gets put off or squeezed into the tiniest time block.
We can do better. We must do better if we’re going to prepare students for their future.
LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student provides a process that can be incorporated into every class at every grade level ... even if you don’t consider yourself a “creative teacher.” And if you dare to innovate and view creativity as an essential skill, you will empower your students to change the world—starting right now.
Look, Listen, and Learn
Ask Lots of Questions
Understand the Problem or Process
Highlight What’s Working and Failing
Are you ready to LAUNCH?
"Required reading for every teacher who cares. A dramatic re-framing and a road map on how to rebuild our schools from the inside." —Seth Godin, author of Stop Stealing Dreams
“All kids walk into school curious and creative. This book will help weave a path to ensure that these traits are not only maintained, but accentuated when those same students leave.” —George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset
“The LAUNCH framework John Spencer and A.J. Juliani present has the potential to dramatically change classrooms to be more engaging, student centric, and most of all, fun!” —Dr. Jackie Gerstein, online faculty for master’s degree programs in educational technology
“This book, crafted by John and A.J., provides educators with a series of actionable steps regarding design thinking, while simultaneously dispelling common myths and dissolving perceived roadblocks to success.” —Sarah Thomas, regional technology coordinator, founder of #EduMatch
Educating our students is hard work. It was before the pandemic, and now, heading into a post-COVID world, it has continued to challenge all of us (teachers, coaches, administrators, and parents). In the midst of going from in-person teaching to remote learning, and then to a hybrid approach, we have seen the need for adaptable and flexible curriculum and instruction.
This book sets out to build on the best of what educators have already done for years: adapt their instruction to meet the needs of their students.
As we move into an era of learning that will continue to happen in a variety of environments, Adaptable provides a framework to create a curriculum that works in our post-COVID world and learning experiences that engage and empower our students regardless of where they are learning.
Careers in the 21st century are changing, but traditional education methods are not preparing students for these new jobs and demands. In this thought-provoking book, esteemed educator A.J. Juliani describes how we need to modify our classrooms to instill in students the drive for inquiry and innovation that they will need to succeed beyond school doors. Juliani reveals the ways that teachers can use Google’s 20% Time, Genius Hour, and Project-Based Learning to make students more creative, inquisitive, engaged in learning, and self-motivated—the kind of people we need to move society forward! He offers easy ways to implement these ideas while meeting the Common Core and still allowing plenty of time for content instruction.
- Research on the benefits of inquiry-based learning
- Connections to the Common Core State Standards
- Stories and examples from the field
- Exciting ideas for using 20% Time, Genius Hour, and PBL at various grade levels
- Tips for preparing parents and administration for your new instruction
- Ideas for expanding your knowledge and continually learning in this area
- Classroom applications for each chapter, including sample projects and resources
- Bonus content with reproducible materials that you can use in your classroom right now, such as student checklists, questions, lessons, and unit plans
As Juliani emphasizes, if we want our students to change the world, we must change our classrooms to foster inquiry and innovation.