Fires in the Mind-eBook Conversation discussion

Chapter 1: What Does It Take to Get Good?

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message 1: by Franki (new)

Franki Sibberson | 19 comments Mod
This is for discussions around thoughts and ideas from Chapter 1.

message 2: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Mere (catmere) | 11 comments I already want to have this chat with my first graders. So insightful. When I consider moving my thinking away from schooling and more toward learning and expertise change becomes a necessity. I can name the "expertise" of some of my students, but not everyone. I'm wondering about that.

A sidebar: It was a bit difficult to hear the word "good" used so often. The work of Peter Johnston and conversations of Debbie Miller have me banning this word from my learning vocabulary. Not sure it needs to be banned, but I've tried to be careful using it.

A few statements caught my attention:
"Powerful new evidence shows that opportunity and practice have far more impact on high performance than does innate talent." (Couldn't agree more. My children all play sports. It has been interesting to observe that the kids who had the most talent in the early years are rarely those who perform the best in high school.)

"Ten thousand hours of practice" (No wonder I'm not good at Later in the chapter "deliberate practice" is defined as repeated practice at an appropriate challenge in which feedback is received and adjustments are made. Small success along the way is important.

Reasons for working at something given by students:
1) fun
2) social (friends participate)
3) someone encouraged them
(These statements spoke volumes for learning within our classroom communities and connecting outside of our classroom as well.)

Reasons to continue: "strong relationship" with someone who would help them through (Our school is a looping school and I think this speaks to the power of having students for two years.)

As I think about what I'm taking away from this chapter it is the importance of relationships in our learning communities. Looking forward to continuing to Chapter 2.

message 3: by Tony (new)

Tony Keefer (keeferto) | 6 comments Just some random thoughts from my first chapter reading.
It was interesting, but not surprising to read that within this project many of the interests of the kids come form outside of school.  I too often struggle with the idea of how to bring outside interests into the classroom.  There seems to be so much pressure to keep on keeping on by plowing through the standards and indicators.  I am finding myself yearning to figure out a way to justify more authentic inquiry into student driven interests.

The idea of deliberate practice reminds me so much of the stories shared in Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers.  Also the description of Anders Ericsson's thinking about deliberate practice reminds me so much of Csikszentmhalyi's work on Flow.
One thing that strikes me about deliberate practice is that schools may be counterproductive to this idea because we are constantly shifting gears.  Going fromm reading to math to science, etc.  Are we giving enough time to develop the idea of persistence?

The comments from all the students in this chapter were also fabulous and sad at the same time.  Fabulous because they have found a passion and work on it, but sad because it doesn't happen at school.

It was also great to be reminded at the end of the chapter about making our own learning as educative transparent to the students.  I often forget to purposefully plan for this type of thinking.  I think I do a good job sharing my thinking and learning during teachable moments, but I know I could do better at layering more of this work into actual planning.

message 4: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Mere (catmere) | 11 comments Tony wrote: "Just some random thoughts from my first chapter reading.
It was interesting, but not surprising to read that within this project many of the interests of the kids come form outside of school.  I to..."

How do we accomplish this?

message 5: by Gaby (new)

Gaby Richard-harrington | 13 comments Each of these individuals has a role model. That role model is either a family member, a teacher, a friend or an more distant expert. Whether inside or outside the school. that role model is key to connecting the concept that practice leads to mastery. I have seen too many students who don't ever see that connection in their world. They don't necessarily see that in school either. We must create more possibility for this to happen inside schools especially for those who don't have it naturally occurring in their world.

Many kids see teachers as born experts. They don't see many teachers struggling with new ideas and concepts. We tend to hide that piece or think we are hiding it. It rears its ugly head around technology use! We must allow our students to see that we are also learners, practicing things we haven't fully mastered. It is the model of learning that we must be proud to display.

message 6: by Gaby (new)

Gaby Richard-harrington | 13 comments It is dangerous to think that we must always bring more of the great "outside school" things into school to make school better. For those who don't like school the way it is, this could make the outside more like the school they don't like. This isn't good. Rather we should work hard - 10,000 hours hard - to make the school experience the best we can.

message 7: by Tony (new)

Tony Keefer (keeferto) | 6 comments Gaby,
I understand the idea that bringing inactivity like Lego building into the classroom is maybe not the best way to enrich students, but what is fascinating to me is the notion that I might not be doing enough to help kids see the connection between how they learn and grow during outside of school activities with learning and growing as a student with in a school.

message 8: by Gaby (new)

Gaby Richard-harrington | 13 comments I think you are onto something. You need to know your students. You also need to be an expert learner yourself. I am always trying to be more constructivist or constructionist with my students.

I see this as the missing piece in most schools. We can't change the didactic model unless we all have the skills to do something different. This is the pd that I try to push within my focus area of instructional technology and learning. If you become an expert, you know how to change when change is needed. There is a lot about this in Chapter 4.

message 9: by Karen (new)

Karen Szymusiak | 2 comments Persistence.... some of the stories at the beginning of this chapter talked about how people moved beyond frustration to the learning. How often do we help kids in school feel comfortable with a level of frustration - or maybe it's stamina. As learners, is it necessary or typical to be a little uncomfortable when we are stretching to learn something new?
In chpater 1 we read about how Joshua's "resolve and confidence"increased as he pushed forward.

So how can we help students understand that part of the learning process? I continue to remind folks that we need to "demystify" learning for students. They need to understand how they learn.

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