If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Students constantly surprise me. In what they think. In what they do. In what they share. And I love it. These surprises are why I do my job.

Right now, my 7th graders and I are working together to create an iBook of A Christmas Carol. I'll use this book next year instead of the paper novel. We're going to submit it to the iTunes store. We want to share as much as possible.

I started with really vague requirements, partially because I didn't know what I wanted and partially because I know students always surprise me. Through the process, I've realized that I need to model my expectations a bit more, but what I really love about this is that I'm not accepting work until it's "book ready."

When a student gives me something without proper citations, I hand it back. When a student doesn't make it visually appealing, I hand it back. When a student doesn't give enough information, I hand it back. Why? Because I know they can. It might take some more time, but they can. It might require me to encourage them to develop their critical eye, but they can.  It might take more time on my part as a teacher, but they can. They can. Therefore, I must do anything possible to change that "they can" into "they do."

So what are they doing?

They're recording songs.
They're drawing pictures.
They're researching.
They're creating videos.
They're making sound effects.
They're writing challenges to the readers.
They're connecting it to other classes.
They're teaching me.

It's beautiful, truly beautiful.

I can't wait to be done, so I can show off their hard word.

My students can do amazing things. And they're doing them. It might not be on their first try, but as I teach them and hold them to high expectations, they're willing to try, try again.