Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wild Jungle Brains...How to Tame the Beasts

Yes, that's right..my brain is a wild jungle full off all kinds of gibberish. I'm on overload right now. I know it's the summer, but I have been going at a frenzied pace speaking, researching, tweeting,  reading, writing, learning, blogging, planning because the summer is the time I can really dig into new ideas. I have the time to read. I spend more time on Twitter and reading other people's blogs. I meet smart educators at all of the conferences where I travel to speak. All of this brings amazing epiphanies and new plans for next year.

BUT...I find myself struggling now to focus on one thing. As I sit here typing on my antiquated desktop (my laptop decided to go on permanent vacation this summer), I found I needed some quiet time for my brain to slowly begin to formulate some clear thoughts. I needed to find some takeaways from all this PD I've been shamelessly partaking in for several weeks now.

That is when this occurred to me...maybe in the rush to meet all the standards, pacing guides, and mandates and still provide our students with the hands-on, student-directed learning they crave, we bombard our students with so much stimulation that they struggle to actually form one clear and concise thought or sentence. More is not actually better.

We have no idea what is already going on in their heads. They already have a jumble of thoughts before they walk into our classroom. We need to make sure that we are making purposeful choices in what we bring into our classroom, whether it's a hands-on activity or a new tech tool. We need to ask: Is this the most powerful opportunity to support my students' learning or is it a fun activity that kind of relates to the topic at hand?

We are the content specialists and strategists in the classroom. It is our responsibility to provide our students with the BEST support that we can. We aren't doing them any favors by bombarding them with a lot of mediocre projects/stations/tools/activities that will cloud their minds from what is most important...their learning. They need the time to formulate ideas, plan projects, reflect on their progress, and set their own learning goals. By providing them the support and time that they need, we can tame those overstimulated brains and help them find their own paths to success.

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