Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Helping Kids Learn to Be Thinkers and Learners......

Two thoughts, okay at least two thoughts today following my wandering around the web (never seem to be able to get off my PC in just 10 minutes anymore!). I stumbled across some thought provoking and interesting posts by two people I don't know, Will and Dave; one was actually in response to the other guy's postings. So, before I start saying that guy too much, here's what they were:
1st one: "Will's post"
2nd one: "David's post"
Of course, I found them interesting because I tended to agree with them on a lot of things and have added them to my favorites now. But, they reminded me of what I was going to blog about Monday, which was learning and thinking. Teaching kids to be active leaners and thinkers. I frequently try to remind the teachers (the other 4 in my school) to remember to celebrate what we do do and that teaching life-long thinking is more valuable than whether or not Jimmy is listening to you today or making the right decisions, if he is learning how to, that is more important. Doesn't really make our day easier, but it could make his life easier somewhere down the road!

And, on a smaller note (more tangible I suppose), some of the other things are teaching our students problem solving. Remembering that math is more than calcuation and drills, even when you are working with remediation or reteaching. How is tons more of what is tough going to make things better in the long run, especially in this day of calculators and computers, I mean come on. You can learn to think mathematically and strategically without being subjected to the prison of constant drills. Also, I think I've mentioned it before, but my class started a wikispace this year and I'm easing my fellow teachers into it, slowly but surely. This is not because they are opposed or anti-technology. It's usually because they are already very busy with the amazing amount of work we already put into our jobs and/or they are still buffering the uses and how it can be overwhelming.

So, in line with those two thoughts, I had found two great articles from Edutopia to share. Now, I have to admit, when I first signed on to receive this e-newsletter I was a little skeptical. It seems that Hollywood entering the world of education is becoming a very "in" thing to do and, truthfully, there are a lot of "non-education" folk already messing with education; but I wanted to check it out. I have found it to be great and very applicable to even my setting. I am inspired by many things I read in their newsletters, and while some are more ideal than practical I think they are good challenges for all educators. Once our thoughts become static, we are no longer learning and to be a good teacher - okay, an awesome and inspiring one - we still need to remember how to learn!

Okay, back to the point. The first was exciting, and honestly, a pat on the back for me. I am not only letting my students "play" with technology and "play" on the internet, I am truly teaching them skills for life-long learning: Wiki Don't Lose That Number by Chris O'Neal. Thanks to Chris and to Edutopia for the continued encouragement, inspiration and validation! Also, just an aside, it was in response to some other Edutopia article that I'll have to go find one of these days that I started my wiki and blog spree....

Second point for today (finally, whew!): math is more than calculation! Math is problem solving, math is talking about problems and solving puzzles, it is critical thinking and discovering relationships... and I'm not the only one who thinks so and is improving students' learning by being committed to this notion: Math is Magic. Go Fullerton IV Elementary School!!!

I realize that this was a lot of chat for two points and I'm sure I exceeded my predicted amount of two . . . and ....... I'm sure I can say that it will probably happen again.... night all!


Nunya B said...

I have a feeling part of why you find your environment so supportive is because of what YOU bring to it! It's cool to read the good things you're doing, and I always hope your enthusiasm and positive attitude is contagious... I'm sure it is! I love reading stories like yours, so thanks for sharing with us!

~Chris O'Neal
Edutopia and University of Virginia

ldtchr said...

Thank you very much Chris. That is a very high compliment and I appreciate it and welcome it with open arms (and an open mind!).

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