Fires in the Mind-eBook Conversation discussion

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Chapter 2: Catching the Spark

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message 1: by Franki (new)

Franki Sibberson | 19 comments Mod
This is for discussions around thoughts and ideas from Chapter 2.


message 2: by Tony (new)

Tony Keefer (keeferto) | 6 comments I am loving this boom so far. Hard to not want to devour it, but books like this one reind me to slow down a bit to process the info.

The social aspect of learning and finding a spark to learn is so, so important.  I can't think of one thing that I love to do or learn that has begun from a completely independent or isolated activity.  When I think about my middle school daughter who is having some issues with friendship and the constant drama of middle school girls, it is not surprising to me that she is having some problems wanting to learn this year.  Without a solid social network supporting her and encouraging her, she may be having thoughts like,"What's the point?"

The family ties part of this chapter rings true as well.  My fascination with sports goes way beyond the fact that I am a guy.  It was all my dad's fault.  And my son's obsessions with sports are completely my fault.  But I love it.

The heading Fun, Companionship, Challenge ... Wouldn't this be a great vision statement for a school?

The reference to community service or work made me think about the idea that we, in schools, do almost forced community service.  The kids in this section made it seem like more of a calling.  Is it possible to provide the spark for more outward thinking service if we are trying it to a pizza party (in elementary schools) or graduation requirements in high schools? 

I loved the idea that we study leathers to find the patterns that lead them to success so we can help them more.


message 3: by Julie (new)

Julie Johnson | 1 comments I agree with Tony. I want to pour over it, but know that I need to read it slowly so that I can take it all in. Wouldn't it be great if we could find a way to incorporate what kids love to do outside of school with what is happening inside our classroom walls. I'm anxious to keep reading to see the implications for classrooms.

I focused in on the statement that the kids found their compelling interests came from fun, especially when it involved challenges and companionship. I don't know how many times my 18 year old son tells me that he isn't interested in something because it's not fun. I've learned to listen to him and he has become an accomplished percussionist and composer...something that he derives joy from and a feeling of satisfaction. I love to watch him play because he gets totally lost in what he's doing and the music becomes part of him.

Generations Passing Down Skills...How often does society dismiss the older generation as having nothing of value to contribute? There is so much we can learn from others who have lived longer than us. I learned my love of baking and cooking from my mother. I've passed it down to each of my children (there's the family link) and the same is true of my husband passing down his love of photography to our oldest daughter. Wouldn't it be great to ask our kids what they think they could learn from their grandparents?

I can see myself asking my students the questions in the "Trying it out at school" section. I also wondered how many kids I would be able to peg when I filled out the questionnaire about students' interests. I'd like to think that I know all of my students well enough to put them down in at least one category.

"We study their stories not because they will predict these students' prowess in other fields;...we are looking for a pattern of learning that can guide us, whatever we hope to teach them." Another reason that sharing ones stories is so important!


message 4: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Mere (catmere) | 11 comments The book IS easy to move through quickly, I have to remind my self to slow down to think about my own learning and to consider what this means for the students in my classroom.

This chapter spoke to me once again about the importance of community. While it is challenging when I think about ways to make learning THIS authentic (though I know I could make changes to move closer to this), I think there are many ways to create a community where students are connected enough to value the learning. A community where everyone has a voice. Tony's statement about his daughter's current challenges with peers may carry into her learning is a good example of why this is so important.

Like Julie I wondered how many of my students I could peg their interests. I think having my students blog has really helped me to see more of what they are interested in outside of the classroom. This knowledge does help me in the classroom to make better links to new learning. However, there are still students for whom I could not answer this (and possibly many students who still could not answer this for themselves).

I think some key characteristics of ways they learned are important for me to consider for my classroom: making learning fun, encouraging learners, breaking ideas down for students, helping students to see success, creating a community where everyone is connected, helping students to support one another and providing opportunities for students to grow in many areas.


message 5: by Gaby (new)

Gaby Richard-harrington | 13 comments On page 33 Kenzie says, "If you don't imagine anything coming out of what you're learning, you're not going to give it your best."

This is how we can change what we do in schools. Make the choice to look for connections. We must connect what we do in schools to what is happening in the world our students live in. It is different from only thinking of ways to bring the outside in.

I am disturbed by the notion that "you need hater and a motivator." I don't think this works for everyone.


message 6: by Karen (new)

Karen Szymusiak | 2 comments As I read this chapter, I thought about how much the potential for learning with passion has multiplied with the access to the internet. Mentors are everywhere. Online communities are formed by skilled and not so skilled folks who learn and mentor each other.

Think about how much we have learned from connections to our network. Conversations, links, tutorials, etc.

We all have stories to tell about our own learning episodes. I suspect they are very much like the ones described in this chapter. In workshops I have shared the story of learning to cross stitch and described the nature of the learning process and the contexts of my learning. If I was learning to cross stitch today the nature of my learning would be the same but there would be more potential for expanded and enriched learning experiences.

So what does that mean for our students?


message 7: by Franki (new)

Franki Sibberson | 19 comments Mod
Gaby, love the quote. I read a quote similar about seeing the possibilities several years ago and this one reminds me of that.


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