Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Are We Creating?

I have been involved with Odyssey of the Mind for 26 years. It has been quite a passion of mine. I have coached, judged, directed, and served on a state board of directors. The best part of my experience though has been with the kids. We just returned from The World FInals held at Michigan State University last week. Our team place 10th out of 45 and performed extremely well. I am very proud of them.

I do have a couple of observations though that I would like to share and hopefully get some insights and feedback.

I have noticed that this group of 6th graders are extremly afraid to make mistakes. I mean just everyday plain mistakes. They have a really hard time admitting anything when it goes wrong. This translates into their fear of risk taking. When something goes wrong they become extremely upset.

I have also noticed their eagerness to please. They will do anything to make you happy.

I am wondering if it's just this particular group of kids or if there is more to it than that.

My question is this: Could this be a result of all of the testing they have gone through? Could our teachers be emphasising the tests to the point of creating this anxiety I see. I can only imagine the pressure teachers are under to get good test results.

I am just thankful for programs like Odyssey of the Mind and hope it will be able to instill the skills needed to be a creative problem solver.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Teacher's Desk of the Future?

Ok, so my first thought was how are we going to fit this into the classroom and how on earth are we going to train teachers to use it? Then I quickly realized I was shoving a square peg into a round hole.

What I should be doing is trying to envision how this desk can help us to better organize our students to learn. This may mean that our students might not be in the classroom, or even in the school building. Our resources may not even be in our classroom closet!

My second thought was how this desk would stand up to the person who stacks their space with just about every conceivable object known to man. How would they attempt to interact with the surface when they can't find the surface?

It's funny what pops into your head when you see something cool like this! How do you see a teacher behind this desk?