Oct 31, 2010

How can we move anticipatory sets up a notch?

I recently participated in an engaging workshop by Jim Knight (instructional coach guru). My favorite part of the two day workshop was our conversations on thinking devices which are "provocative objects that teachers can use to prompt dialogue and higher order thinking". They also need to be "complex, concise, humanizing, varied and not lame" (Jim Knight, 2010).

When using thinking devices we need to be aware of the kind of learning we want the students engaged in. Jim Knight talked about two kinds of learning when using thinking devices.

1. Mechanical Learning: Mechanical learning refers to the "learning students experience when the knowledge,skills, and big ideas to be learned in a class are unambiguous, when the outcomes are unmistakable and straight forward, and when there is a right and wrong answer that can be clearly identified" (Jim Knight, 2010).

2. Metaphoric Learning:
Metaphorical learning requires higher level thinking and "shares attributes with metaphor; it is by definition ambiguous, and functions indirectly. Metaphorical knowledge has no clear right and wrong outcome" (Jim Knight, 2010).

Jim Knight used a variety of youtube videos for his anticipatory sets and it was really neat to see how each video he showed created a positive climate in the room, which is an important aspect of the thinking device as it needs to be humanizing.

Here some videos he shared:

Playing for Change:

Mechanical Learning: Using google earth, have students identify and plot the places where they recorded the song.
Metaphorical Learning: How can we create change through music?


Metaphorical Learning: How can you persevere?

Maurice Cheeks:

Metaphorical Learning: How can we be leaders?

The Piano

Metaphorical Learning: How can we motivate people by making something more fun?

Here are a few more sites that could prompt great conversations including:

The Slide

The Elevator

The Shopping Carts

Anti Boredom Campaign

The World's Deepest Bin

Bottle Bank Arcade


Which sites have you come across that we could add to this list?

Oct 5, 2010

What is student engagement?

I recently visited a teacher's classroom and enjoyed watching students being completely engaged in their learning. I could tell they were engaged because they were on task and you could hear students talking about what they were discovering.

Students were answering the question: In what ways do natural resources and the physical geography of a region determine the establishment of communities?

During this Social Studies lesson, students created their own "community walk" through a very cool 2.0 tool. Considering this was the first time students were using this tool, you would expect that the learning would be about the tool, but it was so interesting to watch the students take off and completely engage in the various cities/towns that they were researching. Students researched the towns and cities to discover the region using google images and street view.

Here is the great 2.0 tool called "Community Walk."

Here is an example of a community walk:

CommunityWalk Map - Map 731016