Reading Don Quixote with 11 year-olds?

Bear with me for just a moment, and I promise this will go somewhere.

I read Don Quixote during my first year at university, when we were required to plough through the entire 1,000 pages of the 17th-century novel in two weeks. I struggled with it, and I was 19 years old and had chosen to study literature!

When I met Irish teacher Tommy Maher at our worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum in Helsinki last November, I couldn't believe that he was reading Don Quixote with his 11 year-olds. Not only were Tommy's pupils reading Don Quixote (an abridged version, but still!), they were recreating some of their favourite scenes using Lego Robotics and MovieMaker, and keeping an online diary of the entire project. Their work covered science, mathematics, literacy, technology, and art, and much of the learning was student-directed. Impossible, you say? Not so!

I'm not going to go through the details of this 15-week lesson plan; you read all about it in Tommy's Virtual Classroom Tour "Don Quixote - Impossible Dreamers" on the Innovative Teachers Network by clicking HERE**  Suffice to say, the judges at the Innovative Teachers Forum were impressed, and Tommy was one of our award-winning teachers who got the opportunity to travel to Seattle in June to meet Bill Gates.

Are YOU doing something incredible with technology in your classroom? If so, tell us about it! Register for the Innovative Teachers Network and complete a Virtual Classroom Tour for your project. Who knows - you could be the next award-winning teacher to travel the world with Microsoft!

**Note: If this is your first time accessing the Innovative Teachers Network, you will not be able to access the VCT directly from this link. You'll need to go to and register to create a username and password for the site. Then click the link above (where you'll be prompted for your username and password) to get to the VCT.

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