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BSIE 2010: Session 12

Paul Grobstein's picture

Brain, Science, and Inquiry-Based Education
K-12 Summer Institute 2010

 

 

  Session 12

Reflections on reflections on week 1

Meet in small groups to have a conversation about your experiences with Sudoku.  Start with a brain drain, then do one puzzle together, and discuss both. After the small group discussion, post in the forum below your reflections on your experiences this week with Sudoku.

Half of the group finds Sudoku relaxing and enjoyable. The other half of the group finds it frustrating because of the time it takes; feels like not the best use of time.

Many people have brains that automatically and quickly see the patterns and love this game as a result. Relative to education, I see why some students are angry when given a task or content which doesn't easily sit in their mind's experiences. Time is needed to develop the new skill and I should recognize what comes easily to many in my class could perhaps cause the few who can't fathom meaning to get angry or depressed or just generally shut down.

a self-proclaimed letter person ... hasn't made any connections between the material we've been discussing and the skills needed to solve a Sudoku puzzle; he prefers feeling over logic. We made a connection between his attitude toward Sudoku and getting students interested in topics they initially find boring or unnecesssary.  How do you get a child to try something out for long enough to make connections or start to like the material?

How do you explain why your mind won't allow you to accept something as fun and interesting?  Jessica feels I shold look at it in an artistic way.  So maybe I will try.

I have been getting better at sudoku. I am beginning to notice patterns that I did not see before ... After actually completing a puzzle together I learned that I was spending too much time in one area of the puzzle.

all of the group agreed on the fact that they received an extremely rewarding and gratifying feeling after completing a puzzle. We also found that the time of day that the game was played and the mindset of the participants also largely influenced the outcome of the game.

it's a matter of learning and making it sub/unconscious

I dreaded the Sudoku experience. Puzzling is not in my comfort zone even though I loved math and problem solving as a student. Collaboration ... turned a tense experience into a relaxing and pleasant experience

I liked to play the game in order. Mattie on the other hand noticed numbers that were missing first and it was more helpful for her to jump around.

we each had a different strategy for problem solving. We had a few almost- ah ha moments as we saw how we could solve problems. We helped each other which allowed us to admire the other person ... I learned from Regina to not stay focused on one box of nine numerals, but to leave that square and find other solutions

Meet in small groups to have a conversation about experiences with your mini-projects.  Start with a brain drain, and then discuss.  After the small group discussion, post in the forum below your reflections on your experiences this week with your mini-projects.

more about ADHD in children and the effect of ADHD in the classroom

science being an open-ended process ... perhaps there are some boundaries that science should follow

grant-funding to facilitate community work

the development and evolution of the Brain Drain techniques she uses ("Keeping students in a vacillating state of equilibrium)

Parent involvement ...,  the pros and cons of it.

figuring out how to make a student feel safe to allow for involvement that will lead to engagement

displaying and acting in a culturally appropriate manner

Science and Acting in some ways can go hand in hand and in other ways they can be far apart.  Consciously bringing them togethern will be a challenge because when one is on stage one isn't thinking about science, although many aspects of science are motivating the performance.

Frustrating, exhausting, too open-ended

I do not like open-ended assignment where there is no "right answer".  I become easily overloaded with too much information and self-doubt.

provide a creative outlet for participants to apply our material to topics that interest them.  They have the potential for being a useful classroom tool in that students can apply what they learn in a structured setting to something more free-form and personal, thus giving them more authority to use what they have learned.

 

Meet in small groups to have a conversation about our discussions this week on brain/science/inquiry/education/conversation.  Start with a brain drain, and then discuss.  What particularly sticks in your mind at this point?  In what ways is your thinking different from how it was when the week started?   After the small group discussion, post your thoughts about our general discussions in the forum below.  

To be perfectly honest  I am dead tired.  I haven't thought so much as I did this week.  The conversations gave me an opportunity to express myself with less fear than usual.

There have been so many ideas generated this week that remind me I still can't settled down with my ideas and think that is that.

I am enjoying all of the differences that are represented here.

our group has realized how important it is to listen to one another and share ideas, especially if these ideas are new

The idea of Science being open-ended is interesting to me.

Rocks are boring, numbers are boring, even words are boring until you can manipulate them to deliver something powerful and that’s what education should do.

Science as Stories! I think I get it now. Science isn't just as it's stated in our textbooks...everything is meant to be analyzed again and again and again. It's a never ending story and that's what will make it accessible as science is pushed into an inquiry of the subject. I really liked the discussion about the Scientific Method. Now I can explain to my students that the method they've been taught is not about reaching one conclusion, but they should look for other conclusions too. They need to consider that crack

Thoughts/subjects this week that stood out in my mind the most were our conversations on dialogue, communication, and culture

interested in the way upbringing and culture lead to certain behaviors in the classroom ... and learning how to further  dialogue/communication with students from all different backgrounds on an individual basis

[students] need to feel that there is a future that they can change

I need to listen carefully to what my students say and give them as much opportunity to speak as possible. I also need to move the conversation away from myself as the central processor and get the students to converse with each other.

the brain is always processing and changing. That means that we always have the opportunity to learn new things. In order to learn more we must be active and engaged learners. This creates more learning and input ... it is important as teachers to be aware of the idea of allowing our students to be active learners and to encourage the students to be active learners.

go ahead and let your students make conversation in class. But don't be too free

I am fascinated by the idea of “random noise” in our brains.

How connected everything is

A week's inquiry into Open-ended transactional inquiry = co-constructive dialogue - Experiences so far

  • Does it work, are you engaged/learning?
  • What does it take to make it work? from teachers?  from students?
  • Can you use it in your classroom?  How? 
  • Are you ready to try it here yourself?  Topic?

Comments

Mattie Davis's picture

Open-ended inquiry and co-constructive dialogue

Open-ended transactional inquiry and co-constructive dialogue is perhaps one of the best ways,  if not the best way,  to teach science to learners.  (We must keep in mind that science covers the entire curriculum because everything we learn is done in the brain and the entire nervous system and involves processes of observations, outputs, inputs, and interactions.) Using the method, students must be engaged.  Information is more likely to be retained, if the student is actively participating.  The teacher must be non-judgmental, willing to allow the students the freedom to explore and make mistakes, and be flexible.  The teacher must recognize that each student is an individual with diverse needs which must be considered on an individual basis.  The student must be open-minded and uninhibited enough to actively and positively interact respectfully with those in the learning environment.  There should be boundaries established by the group: as few as possible to maintain safety, respect, etc..  I am not ready, this moment,  to try it here, but I am searching for a possible topic.

RecycleJack Marine's picture

Open up for Open Ended EXplorations!

1. I think Open Ended Transactional Inquiry is a great opportunity for engagement. I think it's important to use the science textbook to introduce important concepts that have been discovered and have set the stage for what students "need" to know to be effective citizens. But educators must offer opportunity to discover facts in a non-harnessed environment too. I have spent too many years as an educator who could not manage his classroom. This year I am 100% committed to have classroom control so I can effectively allow my students to explore concepts in an unconventional setting which they will use to explore their world. I think we have to engage our students in this way, and then challenge them to talk about their findings. It's a process that I want to utilize this year.

2. I think it takes more than a commitment to make it work. I will have to have complete control of my classes before I can have them begin any "free" explorations. This year I opened up my instruction to include open ended explorations. But I didn't have any assessment of how it worked, and my students weren't committed to the engagement either. So students have to be held accountable too, because the only way for this to work is if both teacher and student are interested in the introductory discussions, the process, and the evaluation. Then it can succeed.

3. Can I use it in my classroom? I am starting a new job in 45 days. I will achieve total classroom control, by hook or by crook, and then I will use this inquiry as a positive process to engage these learners, to help them ponder their relationship to their environment, and to evaluate what they've learned.

4. I am READY to try it out on my institute colleagues. You will be my guinea pigs! But I haven't chosen the topic as of yet...

Regina Toscani's picture

Trying Open-Ended Transactional Inquiry

I am the person who hates anything that is open-ended.  Open-ended questions/inquiries means there is no one "right" answer.  How can I judge my performance/actions/thoughts without this?  In my mind (OOPS, I mean brain), I visualize this process as trying to find my way out of the woods without a map.  There is a chance I might be safe.  However, the probability is greater that I will end up as being the dinner for a group of bears.  (You do know bears like Italian food.)

However, I have to admit that I am learning and find most of the conversations stimulating.  These summer institutes provide us to leave our comfort zone and try something different.  I will volunteer to be a facilitator next week.  I not sure about the topic.

Judith Lucas-Odom's picture

Open ended transaction co-constructive dialogue

Wow! What a mouth full!  I had some trouble understanding the concept but I tied it with the article on Daydreaming and I think it makes more sense, at least in my mind .  In order for this process to work we, the teacher would have to loosen up and give the students a chance to daydream.  I know what you are thinking they will probably want to start talking or texting but it can be done if the ground rules are set.  (Some people already do this we they ask the students to brainstorm specific ideas!)  I think the students would be able to express themselves without the feeling that it would count as a grade and I this would have to be carefully guided by the teacher to keep the students on tract.  Throwing ideas out to the students on purpose and trying your best not to answer the questions will be difficult at first for the teacher but over time very do able.  Unfortunately, because of testing and AYP I don't think so many teachers will allow their students to daydream over major topics for long periods of time.  In the beginning I would try 5-10 minute bursts.  I, would enjoy doing this in my classroom.  I think if more students were given the opportunity to dwell on an item for an extensive amount of time, in the long run they will do better.  In order for this to work, the teacher as well as the students have to learn to trust each other and that is difficult in an age of instant gratification.  The teacher must introduce a positive trusting atmosphere in the classroom.  Ideally, let each student know that what they say is important and they will not be penalized for things that they might struggle with or don't understand.  The student also must be willing to let go and allow their self to just think/meditate.  I think there is a place and a time for this in the classroom, formally we called it brain storming but this is more of self reflection with a purpose in mid that will help the student just think.  We need to structure some time in the students' day that will encourage this.  Five minutes here and there will help the students change their perspective and let their creative juices flow.  I think that we already do this in the institute.  I really like the fact that you are challenging us in a positive to way, Paul.  This is what allows me to grow as a teacher!  I was just thinking about the questions and this was a part of my mind daydreaming!

RecycleJack Marine's picture

Open Ended Inquiry

I think Open Ended Transactional Inquiry is a great opportunity for engagement. I think it's important to use the science textbook to introduce important concepts that have been discovered and have set the stage for what students "need" to know to be effective citizens. But educators must offer opportunity to discover facts in a non-harnessed environment too. I have spent too many years as an educator who could not manage his classroom. This year I am 100% committed to have classroom control so I can effectively allow my students to explore concepts in an unconventional setting which they will use to explore their world. I think we have to engage our students in this way, then challenge them to talk about their findings. It's a process that I want to utilize this year.

Ashley Dawkins's picture

Scripted

I like the idea of the open-ended learning process and have always preferred learning by doing, myself. I want to bring this in as a part of the way that I teach. I had such hopes and dreams for my first year of teaching. I wanted to do cool labs, go on trips, invite guest speakers...let's just say this didn't happen. I was told "no" or I felt overwhelmed from my first year of teaching and did not pursue these hopes and dreams. Also, there were restraints due to the shape of my classroom (I was extremely happy that I had a classroom as a first year teacher). My ideal classroom learning environment and experiences did not occur.

The very real truth was that I was teaching a very special group of children in an important subject matter. We have a very real curriculum that we were responsible for, for a very real high stakes test. We covered a section in a day or two and then had to move on. I knew they were not ready, my students told me they were not ready...but we moved on. I tried to stretch out concepts the longest I could before moving on. This environment was not conducive to opened-ended transactional learning.

With more practice I think that I could learn how to manipulate the time given to maximize it...but I was left feeling flustered.

*I would like to note that I did have tons of support and collaborated with my colleagues. I feel we did our best with what we had and I did my best based on my prior knowledge

GShoshana's picture

Learning in the Classroom

Learning needs to be an open-ended, safe process where a student can state their ideas freely and surely, without fear of being judged.  Conversation, especially like the type we're having, is important because it allows a student to feel as if their ideas have been used by their classmates.  As a language teacher this type of interaction and conversation is especially important in giving the student a positive experience and making them feel important.  Together the class learns from experience; there should be no such thing as "error" because we are all working together and checking answers, learning together.  It is important that students feel like they want to share their ideas in a safe space. 

I am learning a lot from the Institute's conversation.  I feel like I am learning from all the teachers and I am very pleased that I feel so secure in expressing myself, especially because English is my second language, as there is no judgement here.  I can take this security and conversation back to my own classroom to use with my students. The way Paul leads a conversation is good because it takes one person's question and puts it into the context of topics that apply to everyone in the room.

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