Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Whole New Meaning

Friday was the last of our fishbowls on Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind with emphasis on the chapter of "Meaning". We had a plethora of live bloggers in period 2 (Julie Lindsay, Will Richardson, Stephanie Sandifer, and Kristin Hokansen) and period 5 (Judy O'Connell, Lucy Gray, and our own Superintendent of LPS, Scott Murphy).

Both sessions went very well; interesting, thought provoking, and of course, both flew by. Second hour seemed to really focus on the change in education. What is necessary to change school to create a more meaningful learning environment? How do grades fit into the process? How does personalized learning fit into Meaning? I think my favorite part of the whole process was finally getting Karl Fisch to go on one of his famous "Fischrants" about Math and how Math is taught.

Fifth hour was equally as impressive.This class took Meaning to a deep level that I didn't realize was possible. Not only did have the Superintendent of their school district sit in the inner circle with them, but they also managed to carry on a deeply philosophical discussion of what is meaning? what is happiness? They also connected their discussion to their history, science, language arts, and theater classes, as well as extra-curricular activities. My favorite part of this class was when one of my students revealed why she loves acting when prompted by her acting teacher. At first, she gave a very surface level response, but then was asked to really think about it, she explained that she loved acting because she loved communicating through a character what one's feelings and emotions would be in situations to help others understand one another better. It was a great response! It put the biggest smile upon my face as well as the rest of her classmates and even Mr. Murphy.

Overall, I am so impressed by my students from their willingness to try something new, for being put in the spotlight with a number of really intelligent people having to blog what they think of these senses as ninth graders, and for most of all, caring about the process and learning and education. They honestly want to change the way learning looks and I hope after this experience they realize the power resides in them to make the change.

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