Saturday, September 19, 2015

Maize Maze Master.

On Friday this past week, I "taught" a lesson to two separate classes that was anything BUT traditional.  This year's teaching is not unlike wandering through a Maize Maze, moving forward, turning corners, and backing up to retrace steps and find a different direction that will be more successful.  The cool thing is that we are taking tiny steps, together, experimenting with questions, and finding answers.

The reason for the quotes around "taught", is that I did very little of that.  My classes had already brainstormed questions they had about our topic, and had divided those questions by category, and then identified the category of particular interest to each of them, allowing the entire class to go deep in every experience, in a way more meaningful than if we'd all viewed or done the same thing, in the same way, together.

Here's the hardest part for me:  Not standing on the platform over the Maize Maze with the megaphone offering clues to the end.  

 On the board on Friday, totally by coincidence, was a quote from Dr. Seuss:

Sometimes the questions are complicated, but the answers are simple.

 I love when the plans align.  I had simply opened a book, 365 Days of Wonder:  Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts, and written Dr. Seuss' quote, from the page for September 18th, on the board.

For it is in the uncertainty of not knowing, that these groups of students will find their way AND own what they learn.  Once again, Terry Heick at Te@chthought has articulated what I've seen in my classroom.  Her recent musing, The Power of I Don't Know, certainly supports what I see happening in my little corner of the world.

Heick shares, 

I don’t know, then, isn’t just a starting point for finding an answer, or a ready-made template for some academic essential question. Rather, it returns the learning to the student, and restores the scale of understanding to a universe of knowledge.

Heick's universe of knowledge is a wonderful place to visit.  Often.