“I can grade you or I can teach you, but I can’t do both.” One sets us up as opponents, the other as collaborators. As educators, which relationship are we seeking? As a society, which […]
It began with the need…
At West Grand Middle School, student need was not being addressed. Something had to change.
Parents knew it. Admin knew it. Teachers knew it. What they didn’t know was the answer. More importantly they didn’t know the question.
‘We’ve tried X, Y and Z before. They don’t work.’
I Hate Math!
Math is hard for middle school students. Too many young minds believe they will never be good at math because numbers and logical thought processes are simply too complex to grasp at first glance. [They may have even heard an adult or two say: It’s okay. I’m not good at math either.]
Plant An Idea
It all started innocently enough. I said to my 7th grade math class:
Please don’t crumple your papers when you put them in the recycling bucket. More can fit if you leave them flat.
Several of these students had participated in the Towers of Power challenge and had learned the properties of paper compression.
I Bet You Can’t
Did your parents ever play this game with you? They would say “I bet you can’t… run to the refrigerator and get me a soda in less than 10 seconds.” You got into your best trackster stance and waited until they said On-Your-Mark-Get-Set-Go! Away you sprinted to the fridge while they pretended to count.
Almost every kid has done this… and if you didn’t learn it from your parents, then chances are good an older brother or sister tried it out on you. It probably worked a few times, maybe more, until you wised up and said something like “Go get your own soda!”
The 3rd Year In another few weeks, I start my third year here in this little schoolhouse on the prairie. So much water has passed under my bridge that my head explodes whenever I try […]
What’s the Diff?
Jess and I have been talking about design thinking a lot lately. In fact, we had an epic video-making session this morning where we answered some specific questions on why it’s critical to use design thinking in education and how it benefits students. We are crafting an online course called JumpStart: DT Primer to give you some tools that you’ll be able to use immediately. Should be ready in about a month. Stay tuned.
One question comes up over and over that I want to address here and now:
What is the difference between using design thinking to teach content and teaching students how to design think? Isn’t that the same thing?
Well, the quick answer is No. Those are not the same.
One is a delivery system and the other is a learning process.
Genius Hour is taking hold in the innovative corners of education-world. Seems like it’s more popular in elementary classrooms where students spend a good chunk of time in the same space versus high school rooms where students typically travel six or seven times a day. Genius hour fits easier into the extended block of learning time rather than into a core class which focuses on about an hour of same-subject instruction.
Questions and Answers
In the grand scheme of education, the focus is almost exclusively on answers. Teachers teach students how to get answers. Students repeat those answers on homework and tests and more tests. Report card grades and test scores provide reassurance that the proper answers have been received and tallied.
This is the natural flow of education and has been for over 300 years since the first public school appeared in the United States. Whether the innate desire for correct answers originated with the advent of public education or was the result of the evolution of American culture is more of a chicken-and-egg question. No doubt that the need to have answers and to have the right answers is part-and-parcel of daily life anymore.
It Begins With Empathy
Puzzled looks…reactions of disinterest…blunt statements of I don’t know what you are talking about.
Design Thinking cannot be explained easily because Design Thinking must be experienced. Although there are steps to follow in the DT process, it is more about the why and less about the how.
DT can be used to solve virtually any problem that may exist.