Motorcycles, tools, and garages! A little bit of everything mechanical and technical.

Friday, November 15, 2013

How to survive a day in a middle school metal shop...

How to survive a day in a middle school metal shop:

Plug yer ears and put your angry eyes on.

Seriously though, Mr. Grumpypants the teacher isn't good for anyone.  Glad I work with people that understand that!  Wore these glasses in one class, and one of my students looked at me for about a minute with a goofy look on his face, and finally said, "Mr. T, I just can't take you serious with that look on your face."

Been a rough week, but lots of fun.  The trimester ends next week, so of course everything associated with that - grades, finals, new rosters, new units, new classes to teach, end of tri activities, etc.- is driving teachers and students buggy.  Throw into the mix 3 days worth of subs for my classes while I attended a PLC conference in SLC.  Ironic, eh?

The conference was GREAT.  I (we) learned so much stuff our heads hurt, but we came away with a ton of great ideas, and wishing that everyone in our school could have been there to see the big picture of what could be possible.  For those of you who don't know- PLC is an education acronym for "Professional Learning Communities" (sorry Dad, it doesn't mean programmable logic controller...).  Rick Dufour has written several books on the subject, as has his wife Becky and the rest of the folks who presented at this conference.

Pretty hard to condense 3 days worth of excellent presentations, but I think if you could simplify it all down to a main idea it would be something along the lines of:  Working together with other teachers as a TEAM is better for all involved- teachers and students, and you will get more done with less work and get better results.

If only it were that simple!  Too often (and I'm super guilty of this) I think teachers prefer to do their own thing in their own room- or teach in isolation as the Dufours put it.  They have this whole idea of  "Loose and Tight", where there are strict and rigid guidelines put in place, but the teacher is left to determine the HOW.  This mean the teacher can still practice their "art" while STILL working as a team towards a common goal.

I came away with a much better understanding of a lot of basic principles of education- both on the WHY and the HOW.  Formative assessments, summative assessments, guaranteed curriculum, essential elements, when you see why it needs to be done and the knowledge / data that can come out of it, you see why it's so important.

The best part of all of this?!  It's LESS work for the teacher, and the students get MORE one on one time if it's needed.  The downside, of course, is that it only works if everyone is willing to do it.

I could go on but I've had all of this stuff bouncing around in my head for the last 4 days and I'd really like to change gears to something a little more... mechanical?  Time to unplug and enjoy the weekend, but here's a start for y'all:

This was on top of a post near the convention center.  It had maybe a 4 foot wingspan, the props spun in the wind, and it acted like a wind vane.  Would LOVE to build something like this, and I don't think it would be too super hard.  I'll add it to my list of stuff to do, right after surviving a school year, finishing Dan's chariot, building a sidecar for one of my bikes, figuring out what to do with the old Dodge's, and on, and on, and ....

You can find more info on the Dufours and PLC's at allthingsplc.info or http://www.solution-tree.com/

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