The Mac Lab

A Work in Progress (Week 7)

by on Oct.18, 2010, under Blog

victoria_m_01_smTo raise new questions, new possibilities,
to regard old questions from a new angle,
requires creative imagination
and marks real advances in science.
β€” Albert Einstein

Question: How might I connect with more of my students? Ah, the eternal quest for educators. Let’s start right here: Watch this video. That’s right, for once I’m telling you to watch the video before reading the entire post.

Okay, Is everyone with me now? Imagine this: You’re a football coach. For years your teams have been successful running the football. Your playbook is filled with cleverly designed running plays but this year you’ve got a quarterback who can throw like a pro and players who can run like the wind and catch anything that comes their way. Should you stick to your playbook or redesign your offense around your talent?

I’m willing to continue reworking my playbook to take advantage of my players (YOU). But where to start? How do I take advantage of what you have to offer?

After hours of pondering and pounding the keyboard on Saturday, I finally arrived at a more developed question: How might I reconfigure and restructure expectations and assignments in my classroom to provide a wider array of sustained opportunities for students to tap into their own Zone of Intrinsic Motivation (ZIM) without compromising the integrity of the curriculum?

Immediately thereafter a fully formed idea sprang to mind. (Think: 4th Stage of the 5 Stages of the Creative Process.) Inspired by Bud Caddell’s brilliant Venn diagram, my own version (below, used with Bud’s kind permission) will be my guiding light until it proves to throw false shadows.

Here’s the idea broken into three parts:

1. What students do well
2. What students want to do
3. What we (teachers) want students to do

The Intersection of 1 and 2: In the first draft, “acknowledge” seemed patronizing: Yeah, yeah. That’s nice. The second draft (below) calls on us (teachers) to find a way to include what students enjoy doing and what they do well, even if it doesn’t seem obvious how we might accomplish this. Extending our curriculum to leverage the students’ strengths and desires would make for a more engaging classroom, yes? That feels right but, as with all of these, I’m not sure of the verb. In fact, I just used all three intersection verbs in the ZIM! for that explanation. Are they virtually interchangeable? Does it matter? Should they be more distinct?

The Intersection of 1 and 3 & 2 and 3: The second draft calls on teachers to leverage and extend what students do well and what they enjoy doing. Hey, you say, That sounds just like what you said about the intersection of 1 and 2. Yes, it does. Peer to peer mentoring, modifying curriculum to tap into individual strengths, taking advantage of student interests. Yeah. Sure. you say, But how?

Let’s talk about this today.zim_02_555

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Speaking of What Students Do Well: Isn’t Victoria M’s work in progress amazing? Just like most of you, she’d never touched Illustrator or the Pen Tool before. I may feature another rookie (Mark L) next week. No pressure, Mark. πŸ˜‰

1019: Since we spent most of yesterday discussing how we might grow your ZIM, I’ll let you work today. Keep your other classes in mind when producing projects down the road and always remember to think creatively.

1020: Please give any family members visiting today a full tour of the blog. Show them the expectations, policies, rubric, tutorials, etc. Then share what you’ve been doing these first 6+ weeks. If no one from home could make it, work on your projects.

1021: From 8:00 to 9:00 I’m participating in an Adobe online event. Second period students, please just work on your projects. Note: I’ve got the laptop hidden from your view because this is top secret. When I’m permitted to share the info with you, I will, but I will tell you that this is VERY exciting stuff that we’ll have our hands on soon.

How soon? Patience, Grasshopper. πŸ˜‰

1022: Sir Ken Robinson returns. (Blocked at school.) You may watch or work, but it’s worth watching for more than one reason, as you’ll discover. SKR’s site. (Yes, video blocked there too.)

6 Hours of Fun: The 3rd Mac Lab Saturday Schoolβ„’ is tomorrow from 6:15 to 12:00.

Network Essentials: Watch this video.

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