Search 7 Sunday: Honoring Interests

  • I really liked the idea of examining the double meaning of ‘interests’ this week, both the curiosity kind, and the more political kind.  In that vein, I found this story from the blog of Fred Klonsky.  It concerns the efforts of students who are protesting and agitating for better funding for Illinois Public Schools.  I think the image of students fighting for their own interests is very powerful.
  • Similarly, allowing students to take the lead on parent-teacher conferences are a great way to build-up student confidence and self-advocacy.  I think it is a very interesting way for students to think about their own education and understand their own agency in the process.  Its a thoughtful way to give students a chance to voice their beliefs and interests in school.
  • This idea of empowerment is echoed in this article, which focuses on teachers and their own professional development.  Two key quotes that teachers can apply to their own classrooms: “It’s easy to talk about what we want to see in classrooms and how schools should function differently but it’s an entirely different idea to be at the forefront of those decisions” and from a tweet from @MrChase: “If you want people to feel empowered, give them power. That’s it. Do that.
  • Like Holly at the PhillyGirlBlog, I found this week to be a little challenging, since I don’t have my own classroom of students just yet.  I really like her idea (#2) of creating a student list of human rights.  Its a powerful idea, and one that allows students to think about bigger ideas in the world.  I think its such a great framing device for talking about so many things in the humanities.
  • One other idea I’ve been struggling with are ways to integrate student interest into a math classroom.  I can’t say for certain, but I feel as though math classes are among the most tightly regimented in a high school, and as such, leave little opportunity to integrate student interest.  Over the last few weeks, during my pre-student teaching work, I’ve been seeing Anchor Activities used on a regular basis.  I think this may be the easiest way to sneak in some math material that student find more interesting, whether it is a long term project, or a supplementary activity.  Anchor activities, since they are ongoing and used as needed, could provide an opportunity for a wide range of differentiated content.
  • I found this primer on integrating student interest into lesson for students with dyslexia interesting and informative.  Its a very succinct and compelling case that honoring student interests is a need in the classroom for students of all types, but especially for those with different abilities.  “By taking time to get to know your student’s interests and strengths, you build rapport and convey that you believe in him. You will also have a fuller picture of the student by knowing not only areas of difficulty, but also areas where he excels.”
  • Finally, I found this Q and A with a group of teachers to be an interesting read.  I really find that hearing from teachers, as opposed to only academics, is an important part of examining new ideas in teaching.  I think a blend of theory and practice is the best way for a future teacher like me to understand what’s in store in the future.  I like this quote in particular:Ever ponder this? If a student is bad a math, one of the first things we do is put them in more math classes at the expense of classes they might both enjoy and be good at. And yet, NFL football players were not pulled off their high school football field and forced to spend more time on the tennis court. Interesting.”
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Search 7 Sunday: Honoring Interests

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