September 23 - 2013
Journal entry: Finish this thought, "Note taking is...", and then try to write out the spelling for the first ten numbers in Spanish.
After reviewing last weeks discussion of note-taking we discussed the concept of a Brain Dump . While mostly a written product , brain dumps can also be done at any time or place without any kind of writing tools. A brain dump is simply an effort to think about what you know. It is an excellent way to start a study session for an exam. It acts as a self-test and gets the brain to begin creating scaffolding for what it does and does not recall. I asked students if they ever walk around and just think to themselves... "The numbers from one to ten in Spanish are uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez." (picked this content because it is simple and current) No one raised their hand. I described it as "one of the dirty little secrets of the A+ student.
We then did an exercise I call Can v. Should . Because I can do something, doesn't necessarily mean that it is what is best for me. Modeled this idea by asking students to try and support the weight of their pack out in front of themselves with an extended arm. "This is hard." I know. But look at how strong you are. You are doing it! You can do it. Now, move your extended hand to your chest. "Oh, that is easier." Now move both hands around the pack and hug it to your chest. "Oh, my back doesn't hurt anymore." Now go ahead and put it on your back as it is designed to be used. "Well this is really easy and effortless." We then had a discussion about the relevance/connection between this exercise and the choices one might make with respect to planning and organization. "I don't need a planner." "I can remember." Yes you can... but should you?
Briefly introduced a conversation on frames . We will visit this more in the future as a way of challenging oneself to recognize your own frame of reference and the frame of reference of the teacher. The teacher wants to understand yours and your job is to stay open to the foreign/different frame of reference they are asking you to practice or experience.
Introduced the first of many language reframings. One student described note-taking as "boring". I suggested that the word "boring" might be looked at as a sign that the activity in question is unpracticed, difficult or not fully understood. I also noted that when the word "boring" is brought up, it often means that the speaker of the term may not be thinking very creatively.