Saturday, May 16, 2015

Thinking about Thinking about Thinking

Bee-watcher-watcher syndrome is always a danger, but if the reflective teacher is the effective teacher, then it can be a good thing every so often to reflect on one’s reflections.

Not having one’s list of blog labels be 2-feet long can also be a good thing, as the reader may never get down to one's list of top blogs. A clear indication that I completely misunderstood labels when I first started blogging. Who knew BlogSpot also had a search function? I just put in every word or phrase I or anyone else might ever connect to the blog post. As I’ve said before, something is better than nothing, and at least I took the plunge and started blogging—but I was such a babe in the virtual woods. 

Still am, to a large extent, but I can learn. So after months of my husband suggesting that I take some time to recategorize my blogs, the straw that broke the back of the camel of my resistance was seeing someone else’s blog with a neat, short little list showing the 17 topics he mostly blogs about. Oh, and the other straw—my husband handing me a list of the 25 or so topics he’d make for me after eyeballing my 125 blogs from the last 3 years. So the pieces of motivation slowly clicked into place, and I set a goal to recategorize 10 blogs per day. 

It was a worthwhile process—I learned some things about blogging and about myself, and I hope I created a tool that makes it easier to access and use what I’ve already learned. In revising the list to make it mine, representing what I mostly wrote about, then attaching those labels to everything I’ve written (some recursiveness there), I refined what I truly do value and write about, how those topics are connected, and what things I maybe need to focus on a little bit more.

No surprises on my top labels (with the number of blog posts for each):
Reading (33)
Instruction (29)
Writing (25)
Professional development (21)
Living curriculum (20)
Reflection (12)
Vocabulary (15)
Community (14)
Biblical perspective (13)
Technology for learning (13)

A few comments:

Not sure I’m entirely happy with lumping all the best best practices under instruction—from collaboration to journals to game-based learning. I did keep some separate that I want to focus on as such—like differentiation or research—or that seem to cross so many categories they deserve their own—like debate or discussion. 

Debate and discussion are types of instructional strategies, but they are also research, critical thinking, assessment, speaking, and listening. Where to categorize them? Then I realized that I had only 1 post categorized as listening—one of the four major components of language arts! Did that mean I should eliminate the label? No-- I should write and teach more about listening.  Then I decided that I do teach listening more than it seems, under discussion and debate, but I need to be more explicit and emphasize that component when I'm teaching it.

Finally, I realized how much I value modeling--not only reading and writing, but also faith, growth, risk-taking, gratitude, respect, and a host of other character traits and habits of mind. I labelled them all as living curriculum. Our most powerful curriculum.

What have you been learning, teaching, reflecting on? Where do you need to go from here?

Try a little brain-watcher-watching.

No comments:

Post a Comment