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MN, United States
Tutor, Business Owner, Technology innovator

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Enjoying the Summer and Running, running, running

Another late posting (meant for summer) I am starting to hate browser based publishing!--Cory

I admit, I've taken a respite from posting.  Not because of lack of material (but thank you Richard Byrne, I'm gone for a week and I find my RSS bin up to 200), but because I needed a mental vacation.  Obviously when I went on vacation my mind was at work much to my wife's chagrin.

Well, I took a physical vacation, and by the picture on the right you can see I visited Devil's Tower as one of my stops.  To list, I've been to Rapid City and Rushmore (again), over to Gillette, WY and down to Riverton.  From there I went through the forests and parks (Grand Tetons), with many stops there. After that we kept going north through Yellowstone and saw Ol' Faithful, and many hot springs (and one unstable geyser, which I DIDN'T know until I read the sign right in the middle of it!)

Of all the sites I saw, (and animals--tons in the Northeast corner of the Yellowstone area, maybe moved there because of the Colorado fires), this one of Devil's Tower struck me as one of the most incredible sites. (Besides being on TOP of the mountains, by taking Highway 212 and finding ourselves driving through a Winter Wonderland).

Why?? The mountain views were breath taking (both out and D O W N). This one stood as a challenge. One or two dots on the left side of the face are climbers, which really puts things in perspective of this whole thing.  The narrow trail around it is about 1.5 miles (maybe a little more). Connection to Education?  Student views of our current system.

The "effective" methods you can learn in professional development, are more of a clash when it comes to what students can really do with ways they obtain, manipulate, disseminate, and synthesize information.  This is why the old Rock of Education must either come down, or chiseled into a shape that's usable ("Pretty" for lack of a more tactful term).

How to make meaning of math doesn't have to be as intricate as Dan Meyer's approach (of 3 Acts), but sure keeps us from beating the textbook to death when schools like those in Byron, Minnesota develop an ongoing open-source mathematics text for their classes.

What's with the foreign language? Or Failure to Blog

"Chasm of Communication"
--Cory Sheldahl
LATE ENTRY==oops I meant this for 8/22...

Sometimes there comes a time (especially when one hasn't blogged in a while), that there are moments of inspiration that caused me to try to blog a few light bulb ideas from my not-so-smart phone.  I cannot remember the sparks that prompted me to blog, but obviously they fell in a chasm of protocol (or programming) where the translation back to earth yielded gibberish.

I cannot remember the few inspirational thoughts that I wanted to share, but I do remember how good I felt at sending these epithets...It's ALWAYS good to double check before sending.

How does this relate to communicating math?  We (teachers/adults) have a frame through which we transmit our thoughts and ideas, and generally assume everyone else has the decoder which to decipher our transmission (technically speaking).  While the students MAY have the ability to translate it, they may not care or want to, which still makes the outcome just gibberish.

Mr. Shel

Short Term work, Long term searching

This is my modus operendi as of late. (my pattern of doing things in other words).  I just got finished with a long term sub position (again!), though this time it was in 8th grade science.  The students really rely on a textbook based work ethic (at least as 7th graders).  So I had the privilege of not only opening up the year to the students, but also rendering lessons without the use of a textbook.

This is something I would encourage ALL teachers (minus subs) to try (if you have the stomach for it, that is).  The reason I say that is because it was extremely hard for the students to accept this, especially from a sub starting the year out (even though the students know me).  By the way, do NOT try any social media toys, until you know crystal clear what the district's policy is on Social Media and Personal Learning Devices.  (I wasn't totally sure, so I made specific restrictions tailored to the district I was in).

I started with Procedures and Expectations (at least for me) of what the start will be and to know what to expected daily and weekly.  I had to scramble given the limited room to plan anything other than routine, and a few days of plans from the resident teacher.  Love & Logic works wonders!  Starting to think in terms of what I want them to know before they dig into a book (and what standards can be knocked on in the process), I began to search the classroom resources and found a "pre-content" unit to use.

Since the students did not have access (or a text) to this topic, I had to organize in a way that enabled them to get a skimming or an overview, with personal anecdotes and experiences tied in.  I found this to be more interesting (and successful) than their textbook counterparts, but worried at the same time that the students weren't getting their "reading" requirements met.  This was a good challenge, for them to pull information from the resources I provided, and to also actively listen more than they had before (to a tradtional lecture format).  The result-- a lot of learning at the knowledge level, but many students wanted to take it so much higher, were I to remain, could have found niches of learning that dug deeper into meaning and satisfy the state (MN) in science at the same time.

whew--I must be done here, else I'd have a novel on the subject.

Til I chalk again,

Mr. Shel