Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Innovative Learning and the iSchool

Okay, there is just too much good stuff out there. I promised myself, and my husband, I would only write one post a day, but….

I know I could write several at one time and then only post one a day, but I just get too excited about what I am learning and reading. I don’t want to “hide” any of it! SO… I write and post as the thoughts hit me!

Isn’t it great when you love learning?

I was dutifully (not really dutifully, I love it and can’t wait to see what others have to share!) reading my blog reader when I came across this post Engaging Students with Passion-Based Learning by Lisa Nielsen of The Innovative Educator posted on August 18, 2009. She mentions being at a conference and a teacher near her states that sleeping in class(not a direct quote) “Kids need to realize that sometimes school IS boring and that’s just the way it is!”

Lisa strongly disagrees and talks about her school days in this post from April 22, 2009 entitled Immunization for an Uninteresting Curriculum Found at the iSchool in NYC. I need to read up more about this iSchool, but it sounds like a place all students should be allowed to attend.

Now, I think here we are talking high school at the iSchool, not elementary students. That is an issue that I would like to address, perhaps, more fully in future posts.

Primary school students cannot have this much “freedom” in what they do in planning their curriculum (especially when eventually they have to take those DARN TESTS!). They do have to learn the basics: reading and math, and of course, COMPUTERS! (That's right, Mrs. V!)

It’s all a matter of guidance, putting the opportunities out there for them, making those opportunities appealing.

So do we teach in primary classes, more along the lines of Maria Montessori, Project Based Learning, and Universal Design Learning?

My niece and nephew both attended a Montessori school until they entered high school. At the time, I worried that would not be able to learn in the “sit in desks in rows” regular type of high school (the current model when they were in high school) when they finally got there. WRONG, Aunt FAYE!

They are both highly intelligent students/young people who have mastered the skills necessary to succeed in the world of college and life and are contributing members of our society.

I guess I never discussed with them how they learned how to read, how they learned their times tables, how they learned about the periodic table of elements, or how to analyze a novel, etc. Perhaps it is time to talk with them.

I do have to say, I don’t ever remember hearing them say they were bored prior to high school! I am sure they LOVED SCHOOL!

PRIMARY students (usually) still have that love of learning. We just need to find ways to get the BASICS accomplished without deleting the FUN from school.

Most primary school teachers have found the way to do that for students. There are the exceptions, those students whose learning styles are harder to unearth. (That’s a post for another day and perhaps best addressed by those in the field of teaching exceptional students!)

SO, my question is this…

How do you




keep the LOVE OF LEARNING going

and teach the students to PASS THE TEST?

skills not technologies









Link to Will Lion's photostream


The Innovative Educator said...

Thank you so much for sharing information from my blog, The Innovative Educator ( Your insights on this post are great and I look forward to reading more of your blog (which, btw, you should claim on Technorati). I did want to clarify one of the things you wrote about not giving primary school students this much “freedom.” The approach I recommend with passion based learning is not about giving students freedom but rather about differentiating instruction in very structured ways that appeals to students interests, abilities, and learning styles. I provide some rather concrete ways to do this while also reminding teachers that helping students learn by tapping into areas of deep personal interest is extremely effective strategy for helping kids learn those basics. This is the foundation of approaches like the Reading and Writing Workshop which I LOVE! I hope that clarifies a bit. Now on to looking at some more of your blog!

fivbert said...

Please read David Warlick's post ( using the word ENGAGE with students, not the teacher. IF the students engage with their learning they are "tapping into areas of deep personal interest", as you say.
Thanks for your interst and for reading my blog.