Well, I made it through day 1. Its all downhill from here, although I can't decide if thats a good thing or a bad thing.
Helping my wife decorate her room got me to thinking, my room has tons of gadgets spewing forth from every corner, but it could use some more "artsy" informative decorating. Spent some time and made the big IGSBEP banner and hung it up on the wall.
A year or two ago I had a bit of a breakthrough- Seeing as how there are no specific state standards that really dictate what I'm supposed to teach, I figured I could do just about anything. Probably shouldn't admit this because I'm sure some well intentioned fool will eventually find *something* that I am *required* to teach. Not that I have a huge problem with that, but in my case it would have stifled a really good thing. I sat down and thought about different overall themes I could teach about. I settled on the Design Process. It fit perfectly with the projects and tools I already had and is applicable everywhere. Interestingly enough the design process is almost identical to the steps used to write a report in English or test something scientifically with the Scientific Method.
The best part: You can use it to solve ANY problem. For example, before ISATS I would sit my classes down and explain to them that during the test and in life in general- you will come across problems that you don't know the answer to. Does that mean you just guess? NO. Does that mean you just pick a random answer? NO.
Take a minute to IDENTIFY what specifically the problem is. Once you have a good handle on exactly what you are being asked to do, GENERATE some ideas. Sketches, different possible directions, whatever- just let your brain vomit (yeah, my students love my imagery) random related ideas out on the paper. Once you've got a few, SELECT what you think is the best one. Is it right? Who knows?! Lets find out! BUILD it. Try it out. Most important on this step- don't be afraid to fail. If it doesn't work, try something else! The next step is sometimes hard to seperate from building- you EVALUATE. Did it work, did it work well, if it didn't work why not?! You might need to go back to generating new ideas to try more options. Keep trying. Once you have a viable option, PRESENT it. Sometimes you might need to present it even if its not right- ask for help.
Whew. Little long winded there but now you know what the IGSBEP is. My point is this: students need the ability to SOLVE PROBLEMS, not just by rote spew facts out correctly. There is a place for that too, don't get me wrong.
Hopefully, I can help my students be able to solve problems that come up not only in my classes, but in English, Math, Science, etc, and most importantly, life in general.
Hope all you teachers out there are having a great start to the new year, and remember, keep your stick on the ice!
p.s.- just for fun, the birds eye view of my room about 18 feet up when I was hanging the IGSBEP up. Kinda messy, was still putting things away and my room was being used to build stuff for a parade float.
And one of the awesome morning views I get from my classroom. *Love* my job.