Design Time

I love writing. I didn’t know this about myself until I was 24 years-old. Someone I respected, a professor, said he enjoyed reading my writing. That planted something. That allowed me to take risks.

For a myriad of reasons, I haven’t been blogging lately, but I’ve been writing more than ever…

My teaching practice is taking me to interesting places. Right now, I’m designing 100 lessons for Advisory. At many (actually at every single one I’ve ever been to) student-directed project-based learning (PBL) high schools, Advisory is a gathering time at the beginning of the day. It usually last for 20-45 minutes, and is typically made up of multi-age, multi-ability groups. Advisory is a facilitation of the learning process rather than instruction of content. The students own their learning in a different manner than in a typically perceived instructional environment.

I’m writing now more than ever, because I’m synthesizing the last three years of research/experience/life into 100 lessons.  My process has been tweaked along the way. In Simon Sinek style, I began by outlining lessons in a why, how, what fashion. I felt good about the first few lessons, but here’s the thing about lessons designed to facilitate rather than instruct- they are uniquely dependent on the facilitator. When my lessons were handed off to other teachers, they didn’t make any sense because they were unique to my research/experience/life. After dialoging with my colleagues, I structured the lessons in a  manner that most teachers would recognize. The structure may resemble a lesson plan like any other, but the content, oh the content is a different story…

My process for gathering content is something I really really enjoy. Twitter. Since 2008ish learning has been delivered to me. Grinding through start-up over the last several months, I’ve been out of touch with my PLN (Personal Learning Network = people I actively follow and learn from on Twitter).  Having to design 100 lessons has had me reading truly great stuff.

Here’s a smattering of what struck me this week:
—->Sir Ken Robinson’s piece titled As Science Turns Its Attention To Feeling – a very solid piece validating what many adolescents will gladly tell you, “The way I’m feeling right now effects how I learn.” It’s hard to believe this article is ground breaking, but it really was a refreshing read, and I can’t wait until my students get ahold of it. The discussion ought to explode.
—->Mike Siligaze The Classroom Is Broken – articles like this are the basis of many conversations in teacher’s lounges across the country this time of year. I would love to see what the response would be if this was handed out to a whole school staff at ProfDev session and then the teachers broke up into small groups and redesigned their classrooms.  What about students starting at an innovative school/classroom? What if, on day one, a teacher handed this out rather than a syllabi?
—-> If you’re in the PBL setting, and you’re not aware of In-Sight, I do not need a thank you for this gift…from what I can tell through about 15 minutes of Googling, T-STEM is a charter school in Texas taking PBL very seriously. Here’s their piece on crafting a driving question, and boy is it beautiful! Trolling around their sight, I am grateful for their openness. Job well done to the learning designers of T-STEM. My students are going to benefit greatly from your work.
—-> David Wiley‘s Why Be Open — this presentation sat in un-viewed tab mode for far too long. Finally got around to hacking it this week, and it’s filled with valuable insight into making content open. Teaching Intellectual Property & Creative Commons is something I’m trying to simplify. Wiley does a great job. Einstein’s quote leads me to believe I need to keep diving into presentations like this, “If you cannot explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.”
—-> This is why I really really really really love Twitter. The school I teach at has a large number of students studying all things water and doing water projects. Look what Dan Pink posted on his blog this week. You cannot make this stuff up. The learning is out there and comes right to you.
—-> LeadershipFreak is my treasure of the week. While Googling for content, I came across this wonderful blog and have subscribed. There have been three posts this week that students could dive into and grab knowledge. Dan Rockwell is doing an incredible job with this blog.
—->Badeges: A Solution To Our Teacher Evaluation Disaster by Valerie Strauss. Badges. I love them. Students do to.
—->On Business Madness by Alex Payne. This came from @rogre –very good piece on start-up.

Design time is critical. I will not grow as an educator without it. Innovation breathes. New ideas, new people, new structures, new methods.




This is learning.

About Michael

Do Work!
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