Thursday, October 8, 2015

Amnesia!

What would happen if you woke up and headed out to school, just like any other morning, but when you arrived, you realized you forgot everything you knew about pedagogy? What would your class look like?  What would you do?  What would the kids do?

Say that you do remember to treat kids well and you remember who your students are perfectly.  You have simply forgotten how to teach.  A quick glance at your lesson plans tells you nothing because of the cryptic shorthand they are written in.  There are some cut pieces of construction paper on your desk, along with Base 10 blocks, salt, sugar, flour, scissors, glue sticks, strips of paper, cups, and not much else.  Then the bell rings and your classroom fills with kids ready to go!

What would you do?

Would you run next door and tell your partner teacher that you had pedagogy amnesia and you needed help?  Probably not.  Would you tell your partner that you can't read your own lesson plans?  Nope.  Would you panic, sit on the floor, and cry?  Not a good idea!

Then you see the learning target posted on the white board.  It says, "I can demonstrate mixtures and solutions and write about them with science vocabulary."

A clue!  Luckily, you remember what what mixtures and solutions are.  You know those materials on your desk will be helpful.  Your brain starts churning with ideas, then you realize that you have no idea what your students already know about solutions and mixtures.  As you search for some record that let's you know what they know, sighs of restlessness fill the room and Little Glenn is already bouncing off the walls!  It is time to act!

With a stroke of sheer genius, you decide to ask the kids.  You ask the class, "What did you learn yesterday?" and 20 hands shoot in the air!  Realizing that you couldn't call on all 20 of them, it seemed natural to you to let all the kids have their need to answer met by talking with a partner.  So you tell them to turn to their partner and tell what was learned in science yesterday.  Longest-haired partner goes first.  It worked like a charm and it seemed so natural!

You continued, "What did you do yesterday to learn that?"  Again, partners shared....and you listened.  From these two questions, you could tell that many kids understood it well and some kids still struggled.  You ask the entire class, "Sounds great!  Does everyone understand?"  They all nod yes, which you know to be false.  Hmmmm......  "Ok, raise your hand if you need more help with this?"

The only hand that goes up is from the kid who wants to know if the seasoning in Ramen soup is a mixture or a solution.  (GREAT QUESTION!)  Checking for understanding with these two questions doesn't do you any good and you still need to know who needs additional support.  They are all staring at you.  They are ready get busy.  They wonder what your major malfunction is!

You ask yourself, "I wonder if I can make up an experiment with all that junk on my desk to help them learn solutions and mixtures???"  Then a kid states rather indignantly, "If you're not gonna show us the experiment for today, can we just make up our own?"

BRILLIANT!  You reply, "Absolutely!"

If this was you, what would the rest of your day look like?  What would you do if you had pedagogy amnesia?