Why This Blog? Why Now? Why This title?

I am no longer blogging under duress. This part remains true: I had a blog once and I lost the password...and then, I gave up. I really am not a giver-upper, but there is a point of diminishing returns to anything that takes energy, passion, and vision and yet, doesn't work out. So, off I go again, wish me luck! AND knock on wood I have had luck. And it is sort of fun.

P.S. Why this title? I read this phrase today 6/16, don't remember where. I liked it. I'm using it. I might change it. It may or may not have relationship to the content.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've Been Reading this Book...

Some times I think the phrase "I've been reading this book..." might make people at my school cringe because now I will want to talk with someone about what I've read. I'm going to use my blog and spare my colleagues...I've been reading this book...Making Learning Whole How Seven Principals of Teaching can Transform Education by David Perkins...pretty hefty promise! I like what I have read so far. His seven principals are:

  • Play the whole game
  • Make the game worth playing
  • Work on the hard parts
  • Play out of town
  • Uncover the hidden game
  • Learn from the team
  • Learn the game of learning
It maybe to simple to say that he uses sports and game playing comparisons to get across the idea of learning sticks when you learn something compelling and in context. I've read the first couple of chapters and find a lot to think about with respect to designing learning expeditions. I think the most succinct quote might be, [conditions for learning are most favorable when], "its [learning] not in a vacuum. It involves the methods, purposes, and forms of one or more disciplines or other areas, situated in a social context." Thanks Mr. Perkins...that IS what we strive for in designing learning expeditions.

Something to ponder from Chapter 2. Mr. Perkins calls it "systematic archaeological digs into people's learning histories."

1. What is on thing you understand really well?
2. How did you come to understand it?
3. How do you know you understand it?

Do your answers reflect learning "wholes" like gardening, running, cooking, Spanish...?
Do your answers reflect doing, practicing, getting feedback, sticking with it...?
Do your answers reflect that you can "do it", teach it to others, explain what you are doing and why..."

I think the answers are revealing and illustrative of what learning actually sticks with learners and why? What do you think? Does anyone want to read this book with me?


  1. Me, again. I would love to read this book. I think I asked you if you owned it at the beginning of break because I was hoping to borrow it. I know that I will need to wait to read it until our next break. I will have too much on my plate while school is on and while trying so many new things in Math. So I would be happy to read it and talk about on Winter Break.

    I smiled at the part about your colleagues cringing when you say that you have been reading a book. I can relate to that -- from both sides. Yet another reason why having a blog and a PLN is helpful. You can almost always find someone willing to talk about what you want to talk about -- and not have to wait until Winter Break. :-)

  2. I finished the introduction! I didn't think I'd like the sports analogy, but it brought me back to my childhood and the beloved field on Federal Street. We also played baseball as he describes at school, and I loved it. So I'm making connections and am hooked, although it's slow going because I have to stop and think. :)
    It also reminds me of when I was a Secretary at Dow. I only had one job there that I felt like I actually knew how what I was doing connected to the bigger picture. I know how frustrating this is, so this book is really making sense.
    Some thoughts I take away from the introduction:
    *I can see a lot of correlations between David Perkins ideas and building Expeditions.
    *In the section about working on the hard parts, he talks about his own education and how comments from the teacher were "not enough information to diagnose effectively exactly what was hard about the hard parts and no chance to tune them up because we were already continuing on to the next topic." This is something I really struggle with as a teacher. I never feel like we're "done" before we have to move on, and there is no perfecting what we're learning. But there is a fine line there, because I also know that we could linger on something forever and still not finish or get it to the point of complexity, beating it to death to the point of, as David Perkins says, "elementitis."
    So I'm anxious to read more and learn more about "playing the game of teaching." Thanks Noreene, for introducing me to this book!