Have you ever struggled with creating engaging activities for your students that provide hands-on learning and real-world knowledge? Chris Aviles joins me to chat about the power of student entrepreneurship and how you can use it in the classroom.
His students are creating businesses, raising money, and using that money to help change the world. Ready for some new ideas on how to better engage and prepare your students?
Shout out to all of the educators in Orange County Public Schools in Florida. I hope you enjoyed the presentation I did recently on your digital learning day. I had so much fun.
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Quick Tip of the Week
Need a quick timer for your classroom? Try using Google Search. Go to Google Search and type in the type of timer you need for your classroom, i.e., 10-minute timer, and then hit submit. A timer will show at the top of your search, automatically start, and allow you to project it full screen. Easy peasy!
Chris Aviles wasn’t always a recovering high school English teacher. Did you know Chris appeared in a few scenes of The Jersey Shore reality tv show? You can spot him in season one!
Chris later moved on to his true calling, education. He is now a teacher at Knollwood Middle School, where he runs the Fair Haven Innovates program. It’s a 21st-century life, innovation, and technology program for 4th to 8th graders.
What IS the Fair Haven Innovates program?
When Chris started working with the Fair Haven school district, he was tasked with creating an after school program. He built the Make Ready program in which students learned how to take electronics apart and put them back together.
They were left with a bunch of leftover parts, and rather than throw them away; the kids decided they wanted to use them for art projects. Soon enough, parents were complaining about all of the projects the kids were bringing home, so the kids asked if they could sell their art. It was decided that they could, and they made a little bit of money.
Then next year, Chris started working with the third graders, and several of them asked about starting a business. Chris now takes the students who hate math the most and help them realize how math is used in the real world.
It wasn’t long before the program started making waves, and Chris shares a story about Slack approaching the kids to create fidget spinners. This led to more positive press, and the district approached Chris about creating a district-wide program.
Why Entrepreneurship is so Important
Chris started the program after listening to the voices of his students. They wanted to build their own businesses, but this morphed as he realized that what his kids needed wasn’t more busywork, they needed experiences.
Entrepreneurship is like a mirror. Whatever you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. These kids learn the foundations of business while also realizing the value of hard work. It’s been an amazing experience to watch and certainly one that he looks forward to seeing.
The pride his students find in ownership is huge.
What Types of Skills Are His Students Learning?
The beauty of this type of program is that the kids are learning tangentially. They are putting together all of the subjects in one project. They also have to learn how to become master problem solvers.
Chris says that he’s not teaching entrepreneurship, he’s creating problem solvers. When you take a kid who maybe doesn’t like one subject or another and then put them in charge of creating, marketing, and building a business, they become better learners overall.
This program really embodies a program where students are engaged and learning and doing so in a cross-curricular way.
How Can You Approach Getting Buy-In From Administrators?
The best way to approach your administrators is by approaching them with everything mapped out. Be ready to show how this type of program brings fluidity to teaching and learning while approaching multiple subjects at the same time.
It’s much easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, and many times there won’t be any apologies so long as you did the work and research in advance. Chris encourages teachers to try it because this program is real, relevant, and sought after, and not to mention that entrepreneurship is future-proof.
Connect with Chris
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