Monday, April 27, 2015

Fresh Coffee?

I have written what I believe to be the last letter of recommendation for this school year.  Given that May 1st is Friday, and I'm assuming that my charges never wait until the last minute, I'm feeling certain that the April 30th and May 1st deadlines for scholarship applications have all been met.

Oh, wait.  I just fell off my unicorn and struck my head.  I'm obviously delusional.

The Daily Grind.

The weather is awful.  It's cold and gray, and testing continues.  People are grumpy -- and by people, I mean everyone.  It's hard to be upbeat when everyone around you is also grumpy, so we stay focused on sunny days to come.  I searched for something uplifting and found this:

Building A Curriculum Based On People 

Suddenly, I'm excited again.  It's all Terry Heick's doing.  In her piece for Te@chthought, she suggests switching from a "curriculum of insecurity to a curriculum of wisdom."

We're doing it wrong, here in the 21st century.  We're opening their mouths and drowning them in facts, figures, formulas and rules for them to regurgitate.  (Sorry for that visual image, but it truly is what is happening.)  What would happen if we stopped teaching TO the standards, and started teaching the skills necessary to understand the concepts?  How many times can we lie to our students when they ask "When will I EVER need to know THIS?"

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by Te@chthought to create three signs for my room:  

WHAT?                       SO WHAT?                   NOW WHAT?

I've asked my learners to evaluate their projects using this new filter.  The results were pretty amazing, as they were forced to consider not only what they had done, but why it was important and what the next step would be.  I tried it myself on some curriculum I was writing, and trashed about two days' worth of work when I couldn't answer the "So What" question for myself.  

Somehow, some way, we are responsible for making learning relevant -- so that it truly sticks.  Even if it means we have to climb back on our unicorns to get the attention of our audiences.

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