Friday, November 16, 2012

Using your head and Thinking outside the box

This really neat story popped up in SLN (social learning network) this morning. It's a great story on so many levels that tie in with teaching and learning in the 21st Century.

First of all, we have to use our head to solve teaching and learning problems today.  Back in the day (long ago in the 20th Century) teachers often just "did" the curriculum or "taught" the syllabus" or "Went through" the lessons in the teachers manual.  That worked for most of the kids but certainly not all.  Today, we MUST reach and teach 100% of our students - no excuses - everybody must learn!  So, teachers have to assess, differentiate, assess, teach, reteach in creative ways, assess, engage, assess, think of different ways, assess, make it get the point.  You have to use your head to make an impact on learners and learning today.

Next, you also must think outside the box if you want to engage students and be an effective teacher.  This year, I chose to focus on helping my (often struggling readers and writers) reflect on and become more empowered as readers and writers.  Admittedly, my goal was "inspired" by my own desire to be evaluated as a "highly effective" teacher on the rubrics used for teacher evaluation; however, the goal has provided me with an opportunity (even at this point in my career) to think outside of my usual assessments and teaching and find ways to engage my students in their own learning. 

And last, but surely not least, it gets the ol' and youn' blood moving up to the brain so that we can do our best thinking (as I am reminded every morning on the #$%(&*#%%* treadmill!). It's not must reading, writing, and 'righmatic anymore.  There must be dialogue, discussion, thinking, reflecting, learning, and sports!   

Yikes!  I the analogies and connections between the worlds of "sports" and "learning" are many and strong!

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