Review of some very cool art + math + science

Image One to watch!
Parents and teaching colleagues, if you have not had a chance to watch this talk by Nathalie Miebach, you need to take some time!
What are you looking for?
2 things: The potential of cross-curricular and Pathways schoolsViewing the world at the level of the scientist 1  The first comes with a disclaimer.  Cross-curricular and pathways can mean different things, depending on who you talk to about each of these.  Watch the video, and then see if you agree with what I classify: "What it has the potential to be," and "a close second."
Cross-curricular: A close second... My child does science, does english, and does math, and they do it in a way the three are connected.  For example: we do an exercise where we see what will float, what will not, and what hovers in water.  Then we read a story about things that float, and she answers questions about the story.  Later, she does a math exercise …

Put the engine in the inside!

The idea of merging school and the workforce has been around for quite awhile.  In my scant quarter century as an educator, I saw the likes of Tech Prep and then Project Lead the Way.  Those before me related to me the power of Kennedy's "We choose to go to the Moon.." speech and its impact on education in the 60's.  I kept their textbooks on the shelves of my classroom as a reminder of lessons learned, and often grabbed from these when designing lessons.
(Career centers across the U.S. have formed effective, but separate entities to make great things happen - connecting youth with gainful futures.  Although, I don't plan on elaborating on this point, there are some great lessons to learn from the programs offered at these (often) regionally located facilities, generally used to support the trades.)
Often in the past, the effort to bring traditional school and work together has been about merging separate education entities to function side-by-side and supp…

More thoughts on motivation - Food pyramid and the Bulldog

How many infomercials are we going to see about diet, workouts, food to eat, to not eat….  Our whole lives, nutrition bytes have been thrown at us at school, on the tv, and in the restaurants.  Yet,.. for me, my first thoughts on nutrition began in 7th in the home ec’ class with the food pyramid.
So, as a child I was taught the food pyramid was the way to eat. And, then years later my kids said they learned something better and I was out of date.  Apparently, there are new ideas about how we should be eating which improve old ideas. So, I’ll have to admit I lost faith in the principle as presented to me, and started to rethink my nutrition.
Well, this blip is not about nutrition. Recently, I experienced a moment of motivational shut-down.  Not one of my students shutting down.  Me.  Considering myself a high functioning adult, who likes to run with other over achievers, these are (thankfully) rare experiences.  Many weekends and months passed evaluating what happened.  It was love / …

What motivates us to learn (disclosure)?

My disclosure.
If you have followed this blog, you should have picked up on two ideas.  Two models.
As a science guy, here is the disclosure moment: Hypothesis, theory, law, and model.  What is being discussed in my blog, is a model.  We live in a time where people seem to be confused by what each of these mean.
In education, it can be a bit worse.  When we look at development in education, happening by teachers within their own classrooms, it is not a very scientific process.  If it were scientific, there would be control sets of students.  Students would be selected by random for various subsets.  While universities may run scientific studies on students, it is a process most teachers (in my humble opinion) consider too slow and unfair.
What I mean is, if a teacher thinks she has a good idea, and it is showing progress in her classroom, she is not going to stop and decide which kids are going to be in the control.  She is not likely to ask the teacher next door if he would consider sett…

What motivates us to learn (4)?

It seems to me, we live in a world dominated by extrinsic rewards and competition motivating activities.  I think for most people, it defines most of what we do during the week.  Go to work and earn a paycheck.  Come home to watch tv and dream about who you could be or where you could live.   Then go online or on the cell phone to play a game.
But, if we stop with just extrinsic rewards and competition, we have an incomplete picture.  Those are just the first levels on a progression.  And so, we continue to Identification or Self motivation.  
I am amazed by the level of effort my teaching colleagues will put into the profession, when they are the teacher.  When they own the teacher role.  And we see this in other lines of work - or as these individuals may prefer to call it: professions.
There is a simple self test.  Do you go to “work.”  Or, has that always sounded strange?  If it does sound strange, you may rethink calling it work.  Because, maybe it isn’t.  It was once said to me, “Y…

What motivates us to learn (3)?

More to the story.
To push through college financially, I worked a lot of factory jobs.  Meeting a wide variety of people, I learned most didn’t really love their job.  Some didn’t even like their job.  So why do it?  

To understand their motivation it helps to dive a bit deeper. 

In education, we talk about motivational levels.  I like to think of the progression moving this way:External - awards..  For adults, a paycheck; for students, it may be a grade.  For a child, praise or a trip to DQ.Future award..   the promotion; ..preparing for college or a career; ..saving up for a new Lego.Competition with others.  I think we know what this is...  it started the first time we interacted with another child, or tested our parents.Competition with self.  I wish we all knew what this was…  not as common as you would think.At this point, I like to pause.  There is a progression.  External requires pay to work, but people actually pay to play sports and compete.  Competition is a higher motivatio…

What motivates us to learn (2)?

The why’s and can’s:  Why can’t others grasp some of the things I explain?Can something be too difficult?  Should we give up if they are?Why do some people, who have perhaps less talent, surpass us?  Can a perspective change help us engage? Can we find our “mojo” in our work? And,How can we transform our lives to better impact others?  
From the last wondering thought:So,... if you have entered a work situation, or class setting as the stellar individual, everything coming super easy, and a year later are left wondering, “how has everyone passed me up?”  Yep, your boredom undercut your motivation and they all did pass you up.  The right level of difficulty keeps us at our best.
Too difficult - the downward spiral.
At the far end of the difficulty spectrum, is the place few desire to hang out.  And, honestly, you shouldn’t.  (Although, there is more to it than we can digest in this draft, in a later blog - “Why some people excel and others don’t as things get harder.”)
I think we all have …