Friday, September 14, 2012

How do you make a peanut butter sandwich?

As a middle school principal, I get to peruse classes all day long! In one class, a teacher  @SagittariusA1 was making a PBJ.  There was nothing special about it except, there was a student telling him how to make the sandwich, but the student could not see the results of their instruction till afterwords.  The interpretation of the instructions were taken literally.  Here are some of those results.

The first try.  Peanut butter on the bread. Jelly next!

How does that connect to teaching?  How can we explain something to students, using a language we are familiar with, to share something they don't understand?   Do our communication attempts actually distract and deter student efforts and achievements?  What can we do to connect our #CCSS to their language, to prepare them for their future?  What can we do to be the best we can be to serve our students?

Consider Creative Thinking

At Winfield, our forward thinking (brown-nose) superintendent @DrC_winfieldriv has challenged us to examine seven terms that all begin with the letter C.  This essay addresses the term Creative Thinking and how effective practices create effective teaching and how effective teaching causes students to consider adjusting, the base definition of learning. This forms the basis of a successful school.  He has asked us to serve our students in creative as well as effective ways, while looking forward to success.

This attempt got Peanut Butter on the bread but they forgot to open the jelly before they put it on the bread.

Well the instructions began with something like "take two pieces of bread" and after that, it was hard to recover.  Students were asked to share the instructions to build a PBJ, the instructor tried to build it and the class got to watch.  Multiple attempts were given and the results improved dramatically.   Of course, it was a lesson in specificity, details and interpretation of words for communication.  It also demonstrated the challenges involved with communication, especially when we use so many different forms of communication.  It also demonstrated the challenge building on fallacy or a faulty foundation.

How does this happen in content areas?  How do we assess current or prior knowledge to know where to start?  Do we start where the book says?  Do we start with where we think they should be?  We wont know where to start till we determine where they are.  After we find out where they are, we should apply creativity in lesson construction, incorporate some technology, center our lessons our student actions and behavior and progress at a pace they can travel.

After watching others ...we got this!  Our efforts, when combined with prior experiences achieved success. 
Only when everyone acted in unison, was our goal met. 

As professional educators we use our creative energy to connect what students know, with what they don't know yet.  This creativity is the main component of interpretation, personalization and a presentation sensitive to the audience!  It is what also makes a teacher a favorite, regardless of the topic.  It stirs the students to want to give more than they thought they could and work harder than they thought possible.  Great teaching is really a demonstration of manners by teachers to students; making students feel comfortable. Great teaching is proven by great learning. 

How do we know if a teacher is successful?    If their students are successful.   Great job JD!

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