Daily Archives: March 1, 2008

Meme: Passion Quilt

The lovely and creative teacher, Gail Desler of blogwalker, has tagged me for a meme. Now I’m not much on these, but she is so great that I’d hate to disappoint her. So here goes.

First, the rules:

  • Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.
  • Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
  • Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
  • Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce

I’m passionate about teaching my students to think, care, and do deeply and joyfully. I want them to see that grappling with complex stuff (be it an historical topic or an old book), say mucking about with an-at-first-unfathomable-primary-source, can be incredibly enlightening and fun too. I want them to appreciate diving into a topic and attacking it with rigor and gusto, all the while being creative and having fun with it too.

As for the picture, that is hard. How do you find one that shows kids excited with deep learning? Hm…how about this one?

Artifacts for our Arrival Box

It is my class showing all the wonderful artifacts they made for our Arrival Box — which we gave to author Shaun Tan when he visited us. Reading, discussing, creating artifacts, and more — our time with The Arrival epitomized what I want my classroom to be.

As for the last item on the rule list…I know all of the following are passionate educators.

Frankie and Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

Roxanne at Fairrosa’s Reading Journal

Tricia at the Miss Rumphius Effect

Becky at Farm School





Filed under Teaching

Wikipedia Obsession

“The Charms of Wikipedia” in The New York Review of Books is a totally fascinating article in which author Nicholson Baker*gives us story after story of Wikipedia history as well as those of his own obssessive Wikipedia behavior.

After bovine hormones, I tinkered a little with the plot summary of the article on Sleepless in Seattle, while watching the movie. A little later I made some adjustments to the intro in the article on hydraulic fluid—later still someone pleasingly improved my fixes. After dessert one night my wife and I looked up recipes for cobbler, and then I worked for a while on the cobbler article, though it still wasn’t right. I did a few things to the article on periodization. About this time I began standing with my computer open on the kitchen counter, staring at my growing watchlist, checking, peeking. I was, after about a week, well on my way to a first-stage Wikipedia dependency.

Highly recommended.

* Yes, that is his Wikipedia entry. I would assume, after reading the article, that he is monitoring it and editing it as needed.

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The Power of Expectations

 “Grape expectations” in The Boston Globe  is a fascinating article about expectations.  In a study, after people were told certain wines were more expensive.

The subjects consistently reported that the more expensive wines tasted better, even when they were actually identical to cheaper wines….

What they saw was the power of expectations. People expect expensive wines to taste better, and then their brains literally make it so. Wine lovers shouldn’t feel singled out: Antonio Rangel, the Caltech neuroeconomist who led the study, insists that he could have used a variety of items to get similar results, from bottled water to modern art….

The human brain, research suggests, isn’t built for objectivity. The brain doesn’t passively take in perceptions. Rather, brain regions involved in developing expectations can systematically alter the activity of areas involved in sensation. The cortex is “cooking the books,” adjusting its own inputs depending on what it expects….

Seems to me this has implications for those of us who judge, review, and otherwise determine that one thing is better than another.

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