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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

My New Three Rs

When I put together my lessons, I try to put myself in the students' chair.  So a couple years ago I approached each lesson with the following flow:
  1. What's Up? - What is the issue, situation, circumstance about which we are learning?
  2. Who Cares? - Finding articles, pictures, information resources that will capture, keep, or expand the attention of a 13-year-old.
  3. So What? - What difference does it make that I now have this information as part of who I am?
  4. Now What? - What, in your life will be changed because of what you now know?  If it doesn't change a life, why teach it?
I will continue to use these Guiding Questions, because they work - when I do it right.

I have been working for over two years, though, to create an approach for ELL students to cover their needed Read/Write/Listen/Speak opportunities (which I also think are necessary for most students.  I have categorized reading and listening as Input and writing and speaking as Output

This year, I am concentrating on making a transition from a focus Teaching Practice to a focus Learning Practices. I have developed my personal Three Rs for my students.  Learning, as I see it for an adolescent student, is based on Daniel Willingham's research that says (in effect):

  1. The brain is not designed to think, it is designed to remember
  2. Learning Styles may account for 2% of differing brain preferences, but 98% of all brains learn in the same manner.
  3. The material (not the student) should determine the method the teacher uses to provide Input opportunities (my words) for students.
My Three Rs - with activities to bolster the learning process:
  1. Reception - Reading, Listening, Watching, Observing
  2. Reflection - Thinking, Diagramming, Doodling, Discussing, Questioning
  3. Response - Writing, Speaking, Drawing, Publishing, Creating, Building, Modeling
My personal process of learning includes these activities.  For me, and many of the edubloggers I have read for years, this sums up their process as well.  I spend the majority of my time in the Reflection phase.  For a middle school student (not exclusively) I believe Reception, the building-up of knowledge and experience is needed most

Response is something most people never do.  I would like to think this will change, because it is easy to make happen now with blogs, YouTube, Facebook.  People obviously want a "voice" but too often they have nothing really important to contribute. 

So, in text format, I see the following process for learning:

Input = Reception
Churning = Reflection
Output = Response

Over the past two years, I have learned our new curriculum and standards.  I have tested my teaching practice.  This year, the focus will be on helping students develop their voice about things in life that matter.  Students will Receive much of the same information, in the same or similar ways as in the past two years, only more concentrated.  Students will have more time in class to Reflect.  Homework will be time for Reflection as well; I used to call it ThinkWork (and still might).  Homework and classwork will include much more time for Response than in the previous two years.

Any thoughts?  Please share.

Posted via email from Murry's World


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