Getting Schooled

Emoji Graph from Youcubed

I subbed for Jackie this last Wednesday.                                                                                       We had already planned to do Week 2, Day 2 from Youcubed’s WIM , which begins with a video about the importance of mistakes in learning, then goes right into looking at this graph and doing some Noticing and Wondering.

This was my Very First Time Ever with Notice-Wonder.  I’ve never been trained, never taken a workshop, never seen it modeled; my sum knowledge and enthusiasm comes from reading blogs. Seemed straightforward enough, easy-peasy. After Noticing and Wondering in four 7th grade classes, here are my take-aways:

N-W takes up a lot of time.  A.  Lot. All observations are supposed to be recorded, but not all observations appear to be…worthy of pursuit, mathematically or otherwise.  I can see how one might easily discard this routine as a ginormous consumer of precious time because one feels pressured to keep up a particular pace and one is unsure about committing so much time to noticing and wondering. I can see it turning into a pointless snooze-fest for students–especially if it is facilitated by a rookie who grossly underestimates the time needed and is ignorant of the routine’s nuances and the students regrettably never get to the engaging and worthwhile group activity!

Well, well.  This routine is much more complex and challenging to successfully implement than it appears on the surface; its going to take time for me (us) to improve facilitation and timing.  (Workshop, anyone?) I noticed that the same few voices were willing to share (although I had them start N-W in small groups), and many students did not pay any attention to what their peers were saying, so I wonder what needs to happen to make it more inclusive, engaging, and valued.

That said, I think the N-W routine, although undeniably a time-user, is not a time waster;  it is instead a commitment to and and an investment in students and the culture of learning.  At least that’s what I hear.  However, I suspect its not enough for the teacher to be committed; students have to believe in it as well. Their impression, it seemed, was that it was more of sharing-time (for some) rather than an intentional routine aimed specifically to generate curiosity and gain insights, which in turn pave the way to new learning for ALL.  How do I help them get there???  How do I facilitate quality experiences so that students value the process and can internalize/transfer it from class, to group, to individual problem-solving?

In my single, eye-opening experience, what students noticed was surprisingly revealing, and from class to class, diverse. In spite of the bumpy first ride, I was glad I took the plunge. There just so much more to it than I anticipated, so much figure out. (Help, please!)


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