Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How is it different in March?

Winter returned last night. It wasn't too bad here but around Michigan the temperatures fell (along with some significant snow in the southeast part of the state). The reaction on Twitter and Facebook made me wonder how we go from having fun playing in the snow
to wanting to commit snowman murder in less than three months. 
It's probably related to perspective. When the snow is fresh and new, it's easy to get excited about the change in season. But after a few months of bundling up and shoveling snow, we can't wait for warmer weather.

Unfortunately, complaining about the weather does nothing but put me in a bad mood. So we try to make the best of it by staying active
Kathy skiing from our cabin in the UP
and exploring new places created by the very cold we wish would go away.
Eben Ice Caves
What does this have to do with education? I think the same thing happens in a lot of our classes. While there is initial excitement about a new school year, students and teachers quickly get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing day-after-day. I once heard Debbie Miller say (in regards to the Gradual Release of Responsibility), "If you're doing the same thing in February and March that you were doing in September and October, you're doing it wrong." As teachers, we need to find ways to keep everyone active and explore new ideas and making the best of it.

Before Spring Break, I asked my students what was working and what they wanted me to change. I used their suggestions to make adjustments to the upcoming unit. They had some really good ideas about combining some assignments and addressing new areas. One group wants cookies.

Nice try.

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