September 17 - 2013
Continued to review planner options, noting the basic differences between an assignment sheet, a weekly planner and a monthly planner. Did an exercise with the class exploring the difference between "can" and "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?
Students then paired up and made a list of all of the categories of information that teachers communicate to students in a class whenever they assign work. Everyone demonstrated that they know the following categories of information.... Teachers tell us: Due dates, volume, quality expectations, resources needed, relevance and steps required. We then took notes on two very different models of school. In one model students perceive teachers as the authority figure that delivers content. The student's job is to do as instructed and finish what is required. In a second model the student perceives the teacher as a coach, facilitating learning. We explored the long term ramifications of these two different kinds of perception focusing on the importance of students empowering their own learning.