Why are “bloopers” celebrated while “mistakes” are feared?

Near the end of every student video project is the bloopers real. It’s, by the look on their faces when the project ends and the bloopers begin, they’re favorite part of the project by far.

How strange that in a video project mistakes are captured and unnecessarily added to the end, while in 99% of school life mistakes are feared, avoided, hidden, covered over, judged, or even punished.

What can we do about that?

On jargon, professional language, and gazing upon the art of teaching

This is NOT a drawing of a horse

http://www.pablopicasso.org/images/paintings/guernica.jpg

It’s Pablo Picasso’s Guérnica, and there are countless conversations to be had in every square foot of this painting (the painting itself is 11 feet x 25 feet).  One would only describe Guérnica as a drawing of a horse if they chose, quite deliberately, to ignore the story, the intensity, the context, and the purpose behind Picasso’s craft and his process. Continue reading “On jargon, professional language, and gazing upon the art of teaching”

Just how hard is “integrated studies” anyway?

As Co-director of PLCs in the Junior High, I have the exciting privilege (and obligation) to participate in each of the school’s PLCs: English, Math/Science, History, and Language.  Thursday was my first opportunity to observe another PLC in this capacity, and my very first visit to the History PLC.  Within the first few minutes I experienced what I had assumed I would have to wait weeks for: a common thread. Continue reading “Just how hard is “integrated studies” anyway?”

In search of school-wide Essential Learnings/Questions

The purpose of this post is two-fold:

  1. see title–that pretty much explains it
  2. I hope to expand my learning network, so feel free to comment if you subscribe to this blog, but by all means SHARE THIS with your own network!  I’d love to meet the people that make my people so darn interesting.

Here’s the task:

Imagine that for some reason a school decided to eliminate content-specific departmental structures.  Rather than learning Art, Science, and Spanish, students learn a set of core skills and content that will prepare them for the next levels of learning, a life of citizenship, a successful career, and a life worthy of the investment of time living it.

What do you consider the essential learnings or essential questions that students would explore throughout their academic studies?

Whether you’re an educator, a parent, whether you work in public sector, private sector, or don’t work at all, I’d love to have your input.

Comment below, reply to others’ comments, challenge me and others, combine ideas.  Have fun.  I hope it’s not just me and the crickets…

Formatively assessing Shakespeare

As a student of writing, this young man was given a chance to revise and republish his work…but where are the results??

This morning I’m finishing up Imagine: How Creativity Works by Johah Lehrer.  After talking about the creative process, the neuroscience of creativity, the importance of divergence and convergence in the creative process, and the relationship between cities and creative behavior, he finishes by talking about Shakespeare.  He argues that, yes, Shakespeare’s work exists “for all time” (quoting Ben Jonson).  However, Shakespeare could have only produced what he produced by living in his own time, that the conditions were ripe for a Shakespeare.  Then he mentions one of the conditions of creativity (freedom of speech) that made me wink directly at my book.  After quoting a passage fromKing Lear, Lehrer writes:

These are the lines of a fearless writer.  Shakespeare knew that even if his plays did manage to offend the queen’s censors, he probably wouldn’t be thrown into a dungeon…Instead, his punishment would be literary; he might be asked to revise the play in the next version, or cut the offending lines from the printed edition.  This forgiving attitude encouraged playwrights to take creative risks…

Shakespeare was a beneficiary of formative assessment.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Shakespeare.jpg