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Showing posts from June, 2012

Summer

Have a good summer!!

Grade Level

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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Isn't this the point?[/caption]

I struggle with the concept of grade level.  I have tried and tried to understand this, but every definition ends with the circular argument of what is appropriate to the grade.  That is what I don't get, how can we say that this level of work is appropriate for this age of child?  What does a level 3 (or a B, or a three smiley face, or whatever quantitative assessment measure you are using) grade five student look like?

If it is based on the curricular benchmarks and standards, then how does that work?  Here is an example of a benchmark from a major curriculum provider;
Standard 1: Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process

Level 3 - 1) Understands how to break a complex problem into simpler parts or use a similar problem type to solve a problem
Looking at this, I understand that the overarching standard is not something that is easily quantified.  It is l…

What if... Pt 8

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**This is part 8 of a series of weekly questions that are meant to act as conversation starters, or thought experiments.  Discussion and debate are encouraged.  I am not taking a position, merely opening the space of possibilities through discussion.  This will be the last entry until next school year**

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

A Dream

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Wouldn't it be great if we had a space for kids to watch and explore bugs?
A simple idea.
We don't remember who suggested it.
It emerged out of curiosity.
The idea mattered.
Shovels procured.
Extra fencing utilized.
Rocks and sticks piled.
Objects were given names.
Imagination flourished.
Kids suggesting ideas.
Bringing in items from home.
Bananas for beetles.
Sugar water for ants.
A mayor was selected.
Monuments built.
It is alive.
It is not finished.
It is emerging.
Growing.
Evolving.
It is learning.

Welcome to Bug City.




Inquiry Teapots

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This is an absolutely wonderful project that is screaming out for international collaboration.  Think of it like a chain letter, but math related.



@Namastececi send out a call on Twitter to see if anybody would like to be the recipient of a teapot project.  I said Yes.  Over the next few weeks we exchanged a couple of emails about progress and addresses and such.  All the while, I had no idea what a teapot project was.  I was hoping that she would explain it to me, but I kept my mouth shut and played it cool, like I knew what was going on and I had done tons of teapot projects.  Truth, I had no idea what was coming in the mail, and I kind of liked it that way.  It made me very curious, and I shared it with my students, and they were curious.  Did they make their own teapot?  Was it like a time capsule, only inside a teapot?  Why teapots?  Maybe the teacher was English?  Maybe, there was actually tea inside of it?

It turns out, the teapot is irrelevant to the project.  The project was th…

Summer Plans

I have two weeks in Calgary coming up.  This is the middle hump of my M.Ed in Education, Mathematics for Teaching.  We have been focusing on Complexity Science and Education.

One year left to go.

It has been an unbelievable ride.

This is a fiery group and we mesh so well.

Looking forward to what we can come up with this summer.

I am sure it will be

enlightening

and I am sure

it will continue

well beyond

the end

of this

program.

Short and Sweet Reflection

This has been a great year in my life as a teacher.  I was at a new school with new challenges, and a new group of diverse kids.  I did some things well, and there are things I need to work on.  I feel I grew as a teacher, and at the end of the day, that is what I take away from this year.  I will continue to push myself to new heights, while remembering and reflecting on the mistakes and successes of the year that is almost done.  I will miss the kids that are leaving, am excited to keep the ones that are staying, and looking forward to meeting the ones who will join us next year.

Life is a journey.  It never stops.  Neither will I.

Art and Science; Connected Learning

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Try something new.

In the past I have explored using abstract art as a way of expressing our understanding of scientific concepts.  Recently, I decided to take another dive into the world of interpretive dance.  I started my journey with a pal from #pypchat who is a performing arts teacher in Hong Kong.  She gave me some good pointers.  Still, I was nervous, I have no dance skills myself, and I needed more people to support me.  Sarah's advice was merely a kick in the right direction, which sent me down other roads and inspired me to keep going and seeking out more information.

This project was partly inspired by a wonderful TEDtalk and program entitled Dance your PhD.  The premise is simple; instead of doing a boring powerpoint (which the speaker describes as the single biggest drain on the Economy) do it with Dance.  The other half of the inspiration came from a colleague whom I worked with in Toronto while a teacher candidate.

A is a dancer.  She would talk about dance all the tim…

What if... pt 7

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**This is part 7 of a series of weekly questions that are meant to act as conversation starters, or thought experiments.  Discussion and debate are encouraged.  I am not taking a position, merely opening the space of possibilities through discussion**

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

What if... pt 6

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**This is part 6 of a series of weekly questions that are meant to act as conversation starters, or thought experiments.  Discussion and debate are encouraged.  I am not taking a position, merely opening the space of possibilities through discussion**

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Getting lost in the branches of the fractal tree

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If knowing and learning are dynamic processes, then teaching should be too. Complexity science, Chaos theory and Emergence all have very powerful metaphors and implications for education. However, it is NOT a prescriptive method of teaching, and it is NOT a way to teach. Rather, it is about a mindful awareness of the environments that we inhabit, whether they be biological, cultural, or environmental. An understanding of how the characteristics of a complex collectives learning system operates could potentially help teachers to create occasions to allow the emergent nature of these activities to come to life. And in the end, that is what learning and teaching is all about to me.  Life.

Scanning the literature of complexity science across a broad spectrum of domains and disciplines, it is apparent that their is no simple definition of what a collective is, or what a complex adaptive system is, or how to define an emergent moment. There is no clear guide to complexity or emergence. It is…