I taught in the same school as Troy Cockrum for 2 years early in my teaching career. I learned a lot from him then, so when I heard about this book coming out I was excited to read it. Cockrum has a big vision and is willing to take risks to try new things in the classroom. He is an innovator.
Firefly Classrooms begins with some of Cockrum’s PhD research. He lays out 10 elements to student tasks that make them authentic. The 10 elements can be incorporated into large projects that students do individually, in small groups, or as a class. Each following chapter focuses on each element. Cockrum gives examples of activities he has done in his classroom that exemplify the element.
Each lesson example in this book could work in many classrooms, but certainly not every classroom. This is a great resource for teachers to pick up 1 or 2 ideas they could use right away. More importantly, it is a catalyst teachers can use to generate their own lesson ideas.
My biggest takeaway from Firefly Classrooms is not the specific projects that Cockrum shares, but the experiences that his students had when he opened up doors for them. Each #fireflyclass activity sets some limits that force the students to be creative, but it primarily leaves room for them to think outside the box. His students have come up with many enlightened and original ideas. Teachers who utilize this resource should be able to create their own engaging lessons that get similar results for their students. I am very excited to try some new ideas in my classroom next year that I discovered in this book or thought of while reading it.