Monthly Archives: November 2012
This week we decided to share another view from a student’s perspective. The following is a link to Angela Maier’s post, “12 Things Kids Want from Their Teachers”.
It is a good reminder of remembering what kids will remember of us long after they leave our classroom. Can you guess what’s NOT on the list?
This week the Student Achievement team met with a cohort of district teachers, literacy coaches and administrators to continue the work they started last year. The work centered around the three “stages” of backward unit planning–The Big Idea, Assessment Evidence, and Daily Instruction–based on the Understanding By Design principles.
The question of the day was “Why the Thinking Classroom?” Attendees had several opportunities to answer this question within the frame of one of the three stages. Here are some of the responses and comments –
“…to teach the skills and processes to access the content”
“…to instill inquisitiveness in our students”
“…It hurts to think, especially when you are asked to do things you haven’t been asked before”
“…innovation needs space to breathe”
“…why wouldn’t we want thinking classrooms?”
To facilitate our work and our thinking about this question, we used several videos as “thought jump-starts”. Check them out and then share your answer to the question.
Above and Beyond
Above & Beyond is a story about what is possible when communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity take center stage in schools and transform learning opportunities for all kids.
Tedx Talk: How to Learn from Mistakes
Diana Laufenberg, a teacher in Philadelphia, shares surprising things she has learned about teaching — including a key insight about learning from mistakes and the history around where knowledge is stored.
The Formative Principles of the Common Core Standards
Phil Daro, a mathematics expert who helped author the national Common Core Standards, talks about what the new standards are, and what they are not. Our work is starting with instruction in the classroom, and we will be spending more time in the upcoming year delving more into standards, including Common Core, Colorado Academic, WIDA and others.
Seinfeld Teaches History
In this classic Saturday Night Live skit, Jerry Seinfeld plays a teacher trying to get his students to “Think History”. It is an entertaining reminder that the mindshift of teaching in a Thinking Classroom is not only hard for teachers, but hard for students as well.
So you want to make your classroom a “Thinking Classroom”, but need ideas to find a place to start? Here’s a video posted by Taft Elementary School in Neenan, WI about how they identified Thinking Strategies and incorporated them across their school. Their thinking strategies are:
- Using Schema
- Making Connections
- Determining Importance
Do you use any of these strategies? What did that look like? What strategies would you add to this list? What do you think shouldn’t make the list? What is your school doing or working on?
How do you get ME to learn when…
- I don’t want to or have a reason to care about what is being taught?
- You never stop telling us the answers, and sometimes we can’t hear them all as fast as you are talking?
- I know that if I struggle, you will help me finish my paper correctly?
- all you expect me to do is sit there and be quiet?
- I can simply “Google It” or “Ask Siri” to find the facts you are asking me to memorize?
- school is so boring?
- I have already learned half of what you are teaching me, but I won’t say anything because I would rather not stretch myself anyway?
- cooperative work really means chill with my friends, and copy each other?
- your feedback just gives me the right answers?
- you won’t call on me anyway because I didn’t raise my hand?
- you are so busy talking that you won’t notice if I take a brief nap, send a text, write a note, do my homework for other classes, or talk quietly with my friends?
- learning in school is really just an exercise in following directions?
- I am already so far behind that I am completely lost?
- I don’t know what you want from me?
- your teaching doesn’t make me think, be responsible, or own anything?
But please don’t change anything. I am a kid, and I like the idea of just having to show up for school, do what you tell me to, and hang around for 13 years and you will let me out. I don’t want the responsibility of learning and would prefer you to shoulder the burden because you are accountable for this stuff, not me.
Ok, Ok. This isn’t a real student, but it is a real message. How will we change our own behaviors to change this perspective? How will we help each other commit to change?