Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Out of Your Comfort Zone

Nikki got out of her comfort zone on Earth Day. She took a trip into the past with her students to THE BIG DEPRESSION. The students, working as couples, budgeted, paid bills, saved money in the bank and bought treats until the Stock Market crashed. Then Nikki went around with pink slips for all the "husbands." No more $10 paychecks. They had to stretch their initial $100 over five years. By the end of the period, "families" were putting their children in orphanages because they couldn't buy them food. They were making their own clothes, selling their cars and houses, and setting up cardboard box houses in Hooverville. Nikki was trying this simulation for the first time. The students were totally engaged in living out the depression in "happiness," that is, ending up with at least $1 and not having to go to jail.
It made me think of Steve Barkley's April 19th entry "Pondering Out Loud," a most informative and thought-provoking educational BLOG that I follow every week. His biggest tenet currently is that we need to increase teacher effort to get kids to invest effort. He proposes that "there are too many kids who are too comfortable too much of the school day. " There are also "too many teachers who are too comfortable too much of the day." Speaking as a teacher, I know we could take offense to this. What I think he means is that we often teach without reflecting enough on the outcome for kids. Susi A and the rest of the PE department would agree with Steve in this BLOG entry on one major point -we really need more daily exercise and more movement in our classrooms. This leads to thoughts about teaching to different learning styles. If you read to the bottom of the April 19 entry, you will find a free learning style assessment for any teacher and up to ten students. This assessment is worth the click.

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