Maker Mindset

Pause to reflect…

Jackie Gerstein at UsergeneratedEducation pushes us constantly to think through the educational mandates and silver bullets to focus on students and their learning. What will best guide students to become thinking, caring, productive persons?

The first thirty-eight slides of her presentation [ below ] provide thoughtful background theories and key questions to consider for our classrooms.

 

Slide 8: Something to do. We lost this when state standards developed in the 1990s. We removed the authenticity of doing and replaced it with intangible verbiage, which would have been the learning had we continued with the doing.

Slide 22: The most important question for classrooms – because doing is learning.

Slide 27: Love this question. After all, aren’t we trying to make the world better?

Slide 29: The Soft Skills – the process of planning, searching, gathering, sharing, collaborating, listening, debating, revising. The skills we learn through doing and doing together.

With each of these first thirty-eight slides, I say – that’s what what we need to consider! That’s our goal… I appreciate that Jackie shares these slides and continues with examples in the latter part.

Jackie’s Thinglink provides more information to consider:

Refer to the work of those who focused on learning as opposed to standards or skill objectives. Review the work of Dewey [and here], Vygotsky, Bruner, Papert [and here]. For Language Arts, see the work of James Moffett [ and here ].

Play to Learn…

Consider these ideas and questions. Consider the students in your classroom. When did we lose the doing? We learn what we need while doing something. We learn the strategies as we go, with support from our collaboration with peers or colleagues. Every time we do something, we build on what we learned before. That is the power of project-based learning. Students today are fading out in classrooms, bored with the posted objective; they want to learn what is of interest to them — or a question, an issue that piques their interests. With information readily available, it is the questions asked about that information that leads to learning and understanding it; it is what we want to do with the information that allows us to learn deeper. It is the sharing and collaborating with a shared purpose that propels us to do more and better to discover an answer and produce the results for others to contribute; this is learning. It fits in any classroom.

How will we as educators bring the power of the question and the doing back into our classrooms?

dewey_doing


Source of Quote

Dewey, John. Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: Macmillan, 1916. Print. p. 181

 

Cross-post

Self-Selecting, Real-World Learning Communities

Sheri Edwards:

Pause to reflect…
Walter suggests:
“Children are past the point of needing to master content. They can find the information they need on the fly in real time from anywhere. Instead, they need the skills and understandings of how to

collaborate,
problem solve,
create products of value,
practice conflict resolution,
self-monitor their work performance, and
learn from risk-taking regardless of the outcome.
If students can learn and practice these kinds of skills, they will be ready for whatever their adult world looks like, regardless of the information at hand…But society has continued to grow and morph, and being able to master a set scope and sequence of memorized facts, rote vocabulary and basic heuristics no longer meets the needs in a collaborative, competitive global economy. If we continue training bean counters, they will serve those who can ask important questions, find valuable answers, and deliver innovative breakthroughs in ways our generation cannot even imagine.”
Think about that. Bean Counters. Not innovators. Not problem-solvers. What is the value of education, and what does that mean for our pedagogy and curriculum? If information is readily at hand, isn’t our focus the analysis, verification, synthesis, and application/innovation of that information to better the world?

Play to learn…
Isn’t it time we build the learning communities that fit today’s world? Not the business world, but the world of helping each other as citizens of a connected world?

Read Walter’s post and think about reform — and your children and grandchildren’s futures.

Originally posted on Actualization:

ImageImagine in your mind, a map of your community. Nothing detailed; just the boundaries and general lay of the land. Got it? Now add in the major areas in your community where people live and work and play. You know, to give yourself some bearings with a few landmarks. Still with me? Good! Now convert this mental image into a heat map. You know, where the hot spots flare up in bright yellows, oranges and reds? Picture in your mind hot spots that indicate places people go to learn new things and practice skills that are important to them. Where are those heat surges? Athletic fields? Dance studios? Book stores? Parks and beaches? Art galleries? Theaters? How about school buildings? No? Why aren’t school building hot spots on anyone’s heat map?

Karen Pittman discussed this this at the recent ASCD Whole Child Symposium Live Event: “Learning communities need to…

View original 760 more words

Here Are the Trailers for “Rise Above the Mark”

Sheri Edwards:

Pause…
Who is making the decisions for our children? Get involved in your schools and hold politicians accountable for the lack of real learning, lack of innovation, and lack of joy in schools today.

Ask you kids, “What did you do in school today?” How many times will they say, “We took or practiced for a test?” Or how many times will they say, “Nothing.” Because nothing memorable happened?

Play…

Who do you want to make a decision about your child? Would that be your child’s teacher? Chances are, those decisions are not theirs anymore.

Get involved in your schools. Visit. Ask: “Is my child learning through authentic work? projects? Or is my child drilled and practiced in taking a test?”

These experts are educators who see the ruin of public education — and want more for your child and our students than just test prep. We want innovators, problem-solvers, independent thinkers, and dreamers who will be ready for their future.

Please get involved.

http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/

Video Trailer for “Rise Above the Mark”

 

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Reader Lloyd Lofthouse found trailers on YouTube for the wonderful film “Rise Above the Mark.”

Please watch it and try to get the film to show in your community.

Lloyd Lofthouse writes:

“Here’s the trailer for “Rise Above the Mark”. If you click on YouTube’s name, right-hand lower corner of the video’s frame, that will take you to YouTube where you may also watch the other two, longer trailers for this documentary.”

View original

Attention: Focus it.

Pause…

Attention. Attend.

From Apple’s Dictionary: ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense ‘apply one’s mind, one’s energies to’): from Old French atendre, from Latin attendere, from ad- ‘to’ + tendere ‘stretch.’

To learn, we must attend, apply our minds, and stretch our knowledge. I found Peter Skillen’s comment important in this post because our students need to find their connections and passions; that often starts with small steps — reading or writing shorter blog posts or connecting with tweets and their links. They are often the reflection to solidify the learning from other areas — longer texts or critical discussions. We need both the short and the long.

Play…

Let’s find balance in our expectations and requirements for rigor and attention.  Whether a tweet or classic, let’s “Stop. Look. Listen.” Dialogue. Learn.

stoplooklisten.005

Anxiety to Growth

Sheri Edwards:

Pause…

It’s refreshing to read about the new evaluation system in a “growth mindset.”

Play…
I wonder, though, if the requirement for comprehensive evaluations provides that mindset. It requires documentation for hundreds of bullets under over forty criteria in the Marzano Framework. The original framework offered choice in growth planning; that framework would encourage growth and change.

But like this dynamic principal, we look forward to a “promise of growth.” A promise. A hope.

What hope do you see?

Originally posted on Kaizen Learning:

We are transitioning to a new evaluation system for both teachers and administrators.  This was something I shared with staff in regards to my transition to the new system.

“Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil.”

Many people often experience this general state of worry or fear just prior to confronting something challenging.  Something that means a lot to them.  Something that comes with some kind of judgement.  Anxiety is most often associated with a test, interview, public performance, or presentation.  The feelings that accompany anxiety are easily justified and normal.  At least that is what I kept telling myself when I began to read and digest the leadership framework from which I will be evaluated this year.  The more I read the more anxious I became.  The anxiousnes I felt soon transitioned to feelings of inadequacy as a school leader.  Especially after reading the first two rubrics:

Is…

View original 584 more words

Reframing Henry

Pause…

Change the way you think about it.

Thanks to Paula for this bit of wisdom.

That’s my goal for reframing the focus on skills / test prep to include  Authentic Projects.

Play…

I’m going to turn around my last post about blaming Henry Ford  and think again about community of learners in the classroom, like when I taught writers and readers workshop.

Communities are messy; they aren’t the perfect working machine; they change and flow from one need to the next. And they get stuck in ruts. They need to “Change the way you think about it.”

I’m going to start by asking my students what “work” they want to do — as readers, researchers, and authors. Perhaps, we’ll change our way of thinking about our skills together, as a community of learners.

It’s actually starting from them now. We just finished a short iSearch project in which students learned questioning, research, collaboration, analysis, interpretation, presentation, speech. Two students asked, based on their chosen article [ Drama VS Bullying ], if they could create a video about their learning. Their work will be my first model for the others… They have changed the way they thought about their research. I love that.

Blaming Henry

Pause…

How do we change our thoughts on grading so that we are teaching and assessing for learning with feedback so students can improve? Teaching for learning does require patience, reteaching, kid-watching, and engaging tasks that require thought. I don’t want to catch kids — I want to inspire them to be more.

Play…

I’d like to also to change our thoughts on assignments that focus on one objective. People don’t learn to ride a bike by 1) practicing pedaling, 2) practice steering, and 3) practice braking before 4) putting them together. No, we get on and ride. Shouldn’t we dive into good books? Write about what know and read about? Then get feedback on how to do it better, based on the real work being done?

I blame Henry Ford for breaking things into pieces and organizing assembly lines. Many of our schools with students who need more positive experiences are just like assembly lines — not places where we actually “do” stuff together, and learn to get better. Students enjoyed the work, did better on more skills, learned more, and liked school with authentic projects — something that required integration of skills with mini-lessons and flexible grouping to help. We created posters, brochures, skits, models, memoirs, video-memoirs — filled with our learning and all requiring reading and writing. When I’m told to post my objectives every day, it seems that we are focused on the parts and not the whole; we’re teaching the bits and not understanding the world of authors, scientists, historians, etc. We’re pushing the pedal, but not steering towards anything authentic.

What do you want for your child? Objectives for Test Prep or Authentic Projects ? Tell your school board today, and tomorrow, and the next day.