If An Eleven Year Old Can Do It…

…why not you?

Even if you teach the same grade or the same subject two years in a row, chances are you’re not going to do so in the same way.  You have different students; different classes; a different mix; a different chemistry.  There are so many different attributes that change.  These make for the excitement and the challenge of teaching.  Every year, every class, when you prepare, you’re looking for ways to reach every student and make this lesson the one that reaches out and engages every student.  It’s certainly not something that can be scripted that you lock step your way through.

Teaching computer science is a great example.  There are topics that absolutely have to be covered.  You must teach things like looping, selection, repetition and the computer science teacher is always searching for examples and ideas that really reinforce the concept being taught. While every class will start with the mandatory "Hello World" program, the path to the end of the course will never be the same for any two classes.  Such is the passion that we have as educators.  We’re always looking for the perfect lesson; the perfect activity that will reach them all.

Later, as a SMART Certified instructor, I had a very prescripted syllabus to cover but I recall our instructor pleading with us to reach and engage with local connections to make things relevant.  One of the ways that I did this was to look at the Community requirements in the curriculum.  Pair that with an application like Flash Earth and we’re using the touch technology to explore landmarks that mean very little to anyone not from our community but make it so meaningful to ours.  One of my favourite activities was to talk about the limitations of our education where "North" is always "Up".  Is there a reason why this is so other than it’s always been done this way?  What are we missing because we’re locked into this?  Can technology exploit this?  It sure can.  Welcome to a snippet from Windsor Ontario where North is up.

But, are we missing something because we’re so used to a map where North is always Up?  What if we flipped the image?  Is there more to be discovered?

Back to the eleven year old.  I hope that you read my post yesterday about a budding young cartoonist who is sharing his passion with anyone who cares via his blog.  It’s his passion and he willingly is sharing it.  And why not?  The content won’t appeal to everyone but there just might be a reader who could really benefit from his efforts.

Related to that, I read a couple of other interesting blogs today.  Royan Lee shared a post called "Ignition of Metacognition".  Read the post to find his experiences with "good ol’ fashioned mind mapping".  Then, Luke Neff shared some writing prompts that are really unique and would find a nice home in other classrooms.

Why?

Just like the eleven year old, this was a passion that they both have.  Both are sharing tips and successes that would be so helpful to others.  They’ll not get rich from it.  Other than this blog post, they may not even get recognition for their efforts.  But, they’re sharing what works for them.  It could serve as inspiration or motivation for other classrooms.  Why not?

Imagine the thousands of teachers who are teaching thousand of lessons right now as you read this post.  Imagine the shear sum of the passion and the effort that has gone into the development of those lessons.  What is it about our profession that we’re not all sharing our work via website, blog, wiki, Diigo, Delicious, Facebook, or pick your own sharing site?  What would happen if everyone took the time to share just one lesson that really worked this week?

Can the wisdom and bravery of an eleven year old show us the way?

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4 thoughts on “If An Eleven Year Old Can Do It…

  1. Okay Doug, you’ve offered the challenge and inspired me to step to the plate.
    This weekend I began to upload some of my media- and game-related lesson plans to two of the wikis I contribute: http://gamingeducators.pbworks.com and http://mzmollyTLsharespace.pbworks.com – I don’t know how “good” some of these lessons are. I’m reflecting on what other, more current lesson plans I can or should share (maybe the 2012 Forest of Reading / Blue Spruce linked ones?) because sometimes it’s hard to know which lessons are gems and which are fool’s gold. I guess by putting it out there, the response I get (if any) might give me a hint. Thanks for pushing me pedagogically.

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