Do you have a hard time letting go of control in your classroom? 

I know I did.

I remember as a young teacher staying up into late hours of the night ruminating over the perfect lesson, project, hook, and learning experiences for my students. I envisioned a classroom where  students were fully engaged, eager to learn, and hung on my every word.

Luna Ray, a young teacher of at- risk youth and former High Tech High student had the same vision for learning in her classroom.

That’s why when she introduced the hurricane documentary project immediately after the largest storm to hit Houston in 100 years ravaged the city; she expected excitement, high fives, and 100% student engagement.

Instead, as Luna later recalls, her project ‘fell completely flat.’ 

Students were tuned out, unmotivated, and disengaged from day one.


Like me, Luna would learn a tough lesson about student ownership.

In my short interview with Luna, she shares with us exactly why her project failed, and how she used this experience to co-construct learning experiences that later had 100% of her students engaged, involved, and working late hours into the night. Through her personal transformation story, you will learn how to:

  • Seamlessly involve students in all stages of the learning process
  • Embrace uncertainty and failure
  • Use a shared, collective discussion as a starting point for incredible student work
  • Use student peers’ as their greatest motivators 
  • Build strong relationships with students in order to build rigor
  • Steal and build on projects you see plastered on a wall
  • Use the power of exhibition to get students producing jaw dropping work

This interview is part of a 12 shift series for student- centered learning. Get access to all 12 shifts here:

12 Student- Centered Learning Shifts