Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wow it was amazing..just kidding...

Mirror Mirror on the Wall: Reflection

I'd love to write that the learning on Shabbat morning was amazing. After 30 years experience as a teacher, and all that good armature, planning, outcomes etc. the learning should have been fabulous.

Oh well, if a blog is like a booth, I’ll confess, it was ok. Not horrible, but not the Shabbas wow for I'd would have liked.

I'll be honest and share what I think worked and yes where I missed.

What worked? Working means connections. Connections among the learners..(Relationships) and connections between the learners and the material (Meaning). Working means I was reaching for my whole person outcomes.

1. Relationships

The dozen students who showed up were happy to share their story. No reluctance.

Anna with a smile said, “I had great madrichim when I was here so I wanted to be one for other kids.”

This contrasted with Mike’s story:
“We were the worst kids ever. We had three teachers quit on us. So I don’t want other kids to have the experience I did.” Mara pointed out how her class sent a teacher packing back to Israel and wanted to make sure this round was better for kids.

Drew an 8th grader said, “I moved here a couple of years and didn’t know anyone. Matt was my madrich. He really helped me. I want to do that for other students.”

Take away for me: When a student's personal story gets heard. When their story gets affirmed or connected it equals: I’m seen, I’m known and I’m not alone.

Rachel Kessler’s book The Soul of Education’s opening chapter is Honoring Young Voices reminds me why the story telling is in the “it works column”

“When a group of students can acknowledge the truth, whether it is malevolent or benign, when they can meet where their personal stories strike universal chords, they become a community that can respond constructively to any challenge…the is the soul of education.”

2. Students held on to the big idea "Tree of Life"

I gave them time at the end to reflect on the morning. They said:
I get it our job this year is to help students grow.
Someone nurtured us, now we are going to nurture others.
We’re gonna do it like we’ll take care of our new trees.

What I could have done better?

The Torah study was too much. I tried to cram way too much in to an hour long session.
I often have that problem. Less but deeper, less but deeper, less but deeper.

How can I make the Torah study more accessible for next week? One of my design principles is Content Rich and Accessible. OOOPS, I missed on that. Not so accessible. I sent them in to the Torah without enough scaffolding.

There was content, Bereshit. But it wasn’t accessible. A hit and a miss (hey the Phillies are doing so well).

Learn from my misses:

Next week take a much smaller chunk of Torah to access. Maybe I'll try a bit of bibilo drama like we did today at work.

Today LOMED and Lifnei LOMED consultants and Coalition Educators had a day of professional learning.

Three Educational Resource Providers highlighted their work.

Peter Nelson told us about Facing History and Ourselves. Peter talked about how the lessons of history, the experiences of the past can inform how we live today.

Jennifer Groen from Moving Traditions had us think about our lives when we were 12.
Who were your friends in sixth grade? (I wanted to be friends with the popular girls, I wasn't always invited)

What did you wear? (mini skirts...Karen used to bring in a ruler and see whose mini skirt was the shortest)

What did your room look like? (pretty yellow floral fabric, green walls and yes, shag carpet)

Jennifer had us go back to our youth to see how our gender is socially constructed and possibly restricted. Moving traditions has programs for boys (brotherhood) and girls (rosh chodesh) to help youth navigate the days of whine and poses (the teen years).

Then Elizaberth Yari gave us the low down on Explora Torah. And we had a taste of bibliodrama.
That may be a method to use next week. "imagine Noah the man who was blameless in his age was sitting next to you. What would you see?"
Ok that's a start.
Thinking cap for this week.
How to Align to my outcomes?
How to engage sleepy teens Shabbat morning?