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Thursday, January 28, 2010

From the Land of Wicked Good to the Land of 'S Up?


My favorite part of traveling is the time I am forced to sit still and do nothing!  Because my feet are not moving, my mind kicks in.  For me, this is the time I start connecting dots, making connections, and develop insights.

On my most recent road trip...my dot connecting lead me to ... a meeting with Elaine and Bill (members of our literacy and technology pilot).  During our meeting, we had been discussing how to organize our use of e-pals around the unit on culture.  Bill kept saying, he wanted to organize the unit for a ripple effect - so the first part between Jay and Winthrop students would provide a foundation of understandings that would be applied to other cultures throughout the unit - and hopefully carried into each student's life.

During the meeting, I had realized it was an analogy, but it kept niggling at the back of my mind.

Of course, the association was with the article by Sibley on analogy and science.  He was basically suggesting the curriculum be arranged in a sequence that would allow the students to build - by analogy and comparison - their understandings -- "rippling" out.

While sequencing curriculum is not a new concept, we have always thought of it in chronological order or - depending on the content - a "building blocks" sequence, the end result being a body of knowledge.

Using analogy gets us to the same "point," but uses thinking strategies to get us there.  This approach provides us with more active learning - requiring questions to clarify and build our understandings.  Research tells us the analogy approach is a best practice - mirroring the way the brain works.

Sometimes the difference is so subtle, but so crucial - we have to look closely to be sure we "see it."

As teachers our inquiry should revolve around our students.  Are you allowing yourself the time to just reflect?  "S Up with you?
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