Archive | January 2014

The shared responsibility of seeking and finding knowledge

Have a safe weekend. Stay warm!

that MADDENing teacher

An effective classroom is a two-way street with teachers and students sharing the responsibility of working together to engage in meaningful learning.Image

There is a delicate balance of responsibility for each person involved in the learning process.  Teacher and student choices are made every minute of every hour of every day to be engaged or not engaged in the “seek and find” learning process.

Seek implies engagement. It is searching with passion.

In order to develop a successful learning environment, teachers must seek ways to engage students and, by the same token, students must seek ways to become engaged. The learning process at its most effective is a two-way street of shared responsibility. .

Everyone is responsible for the learning and each of us must choose to seekbefore we can find.

In addition, teachers should strive to demonstrate the seek and find process by pushing back when students make…

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Don’t squish out the “glue”

that MADDENing teacher

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I enjoy HGTV, especially programs like Holmes on Homes with Canada’s Mike Holmes who repairs mistakes made by inept contractors. On a recent episode, a homeowner’s basement was a mess in part due to a below grade entrance and its poorly constructed concrete block wall. As the new concrete block wall was being built, Mike’s sub-contractor explained the importance of timing when building with the heavy blocks.

Because the “glue” used with concrete blocks is cement, timing is important as you build the wall. If you build too quickly, the heavy weight of the blocks will squish out the “glue” making the wall little more than an unsafe stack of heavy concrete. The sub-contractor explained a wall more than four rows high must be allowed to cure for a time before proceeding to the next row.

In other words, the wall itself can be its own worst enemy if the timing isn’t right.

View original post 70 more words

The shared responsibility of seeking and finding knowledge

An effective classroom is a two-way street with teachers and students sharing the responsibility of working together to engage in meaningful learning.Image

There is a delicate balance of responsibility for each person involved in the learning process.  Teacher and student choices are made every minute of every hour of every day to be engaged or not engaged in the “seek and find” learning process.

Seek implies engagement. It is searching with passion.

In order to develop a successful learning environment, teachers must seek ways to engage students and, by the same token, students must seek ways to become engaged. The learning process at its most effective is a two-way street of shared responsibility. .

Everyone is responsible for the learning and each of us must choose to seek before we can find.

In addition, teachers should strive to demonstrate the seek and find process by pushing back when students make poor choices. Teachers must take time to ask students what is needed from the teacher for them to be successful as well as how students can help themselves be successful.

In my experience when having this sometimes difficult discussion with students, the issue of an effective classroom being a two-way street with shared responsibility of learning always comes to light.

I believe deep down students understand their responsibility in the learning process as do teachers.

It is just that sometimes we need to remind one another that to find knowledge we must search with passion, WE MUST FIRST SEEK.

Thank you to my student Miranda who volunteered to be the model for the blog photo. She also graciously read and approved the content of this blog. 🙂

Let it snow indoors with a snowflake project

For the first day back after an extended break due to extreme cold, my high school geometry students and I made snowflakes. I have used this project for years, but this year I tried something a little different by letting the students sit and think with scissors and paper to figure out on their own how to make one without any direction from me, initially.

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Just one of almost 90 snowflakes

It was interesting to watch my students processing what to do. While requiring only that the snowflake created be six-sided and symmetrical and encouraging students to be creative, I observed as the students caught up after not seeing one another for a while, brainstormed how to fold the paper by recalling previous attempts, and then cutting and revealing their creation.

A few students were successful. Some students were almost successful. Most were not.

Students laughed with one another over their attempts.

Then we watched Vi Hart’s snowflake video after which I shared the snowflake method I prefer.

The students tried again and the results were pretty amazing.

In years past, there was no project phase that included students trying to make a snowflake without any help or guidance from the teacher.  Rather, I immediately began the snowflake making process with students modeling what I was doing.

After the initial try-it phase this year, I posted an example of each step on a bulletin board, briefly explaining each step and then allowing students be as creative as they desired. We discussed process snowflake variations as well as the connection of our snowflake project to transformations, especially rotations and rotational symmetry.

The next class session after I took home the snowflakes and ironed them flat for better presentation, we hung the snowflakes from the ceiling being careful to follow safety guidelines by using non-flamable materials to do so. (20 small paperclips work well.) The students enjoyed choosing where to hang their snowflake and even took pictures of their snowflakes to share on social media. In other words, they were proud of what they had done. It was a truly enjoyable learning experience.

Generally speaking, this year’s students’ creations were superior to those of prior years.

On an artistic level, I have to think one reason this year’s products were superior is because students were allowed to initially try on their own developing an appreciation of what they were doing as well as an eventual desire to not only do it right but do it well.

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Let it SNOW!!