Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Engagement with a Purpose

Trying to document our senior student teacher seminar. Lesson by Dave Coffey, (@delta_dc, Deltascape)

Dave’s quote for the day:
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mohandas Gandhi

We watched part of Alan November’s TEDxNYED talk (picking up after the barbershop, about 6 min in):

What do the novice teachers notice?

Overheard snippets:
I’ll do extra work all the time. Write a letter…
Empowering students…
Present the idea of what they are learning…
Could give them a topic, send them to research, and what do you get.

Whole class discussion:
A student shares: I’m at a progressive school, and it’s hard to think about going back. The book isn’t example, example, exercise. They’re an idea, a goal, an objective, and then it’s an investigation. The problems guide you through finding the information about the topic. The parent would have to do the whole investigation to help. I did a demonstration of communicating what you’re doing, and then the students were responsible for being able to do that. Putting the work on the students is what we’re doing, and we’re there to guide them.  On the test had a check question and 19/20 had the quadratic formula right.

Q:  What’s a way for this to work in another classroom?
Dave wonders about:
Platform Audience Purpose
class blogs Parents here’s what we’ve been doing
class blogs Peers here’s what you missed
letter ... ...

Student response
  • Home or class work? Up to you.
  • Thinking of students that don’t have access to a computer… we had a designated note-taker. If someone missed they could copy.
  • Saw a student teacher have learners come up to be a scribe.

Not about can do or can’t do. About can do and not yet.

One student opines:  I wish they’d say this in their videos. They come off as you have to change everything. He mentioned that students say they’ll do things for their fiends, and I will, too. But is that what you want from me as a student? But if it was just me, I wouldn’t do this portfolio. (No offense.) To totally allow students to do what they please. “It’s so nice, it’s a great metaphor…” But in reality it’s crazy. Are you kidding?

The teacher of the JK Rowling fanwriter said – she’s not a good student. Could the teacher meet her halfway? There are probably things desired for her that are not met by writing like Harry Potter.

Teachers are more important than ever, to provide that structure.

by Priki @ Flikr
A student shares:  I covered triangles and they constructed definitions, and classifications. Homework was a brochure or a puzzle. Had to have name and properties and a picture for each kind. Non-homework doers was cut in half. Next day quadrilaterals. They could make a bumper sticker or a questionairre for interviewing a quadrilateral. Ask questions, but you can’t ask the type. Again the majority of kids turned that in.

What is working? What isn’t working? What will increase engagement? This example had choice, a framework, a purpose…

We then offered a choice to work on portfolios, presentations, or cooperatively planning engaging lessons.  No one chose the lessons, with so much hanging over there heads.  (A mini-lesson for us.)  Still, it was a lively discussion and helped us process Dr. November's TED talk.

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