Explaining Purpose

I've tried tons of new things over these first three years of teaching but I wonder how many times I've actually explained why I do them.

I'm going to try really hard to give explanations for things this year. I want students to see how much work and effort goes intro creating opportunities to learn. I want them to know that I am knowledgeable about learning and that they can be too.

For example, I wrote earlier about closing my lessons with exit slips or a summarizing question. Here is the analogy I came up with to explain the purpose: Imagine an empty cup sitting at your desk. I spend the entire class period filling it with water. I keep talking until the bell rings and you rush out of here to your next class, spilling water along the way. What a waste of my time spent carefully filling it up. Now imagine that I stop at the end of class to put a lid on the cup. When the bell rings, all of the water is sealed inside. No leaking! Summarizing your learning helps you to really seal the new information in your brain. (This will be handy to use during the lesson I plan to teach on analogies as well. Double threat.)

My IC told me an interesting fact about the way the brain works- new dendrites are built by making connections with dendrites that already exist. That is why it is so important to build on prior knowledge and stay within the zone of proximal development.

I always analyze things to get down to the why- it helps me process and remember things so much better. Even more than letting my students know that I know and do things on purpose, I might reach the students who are like me and really just need to know why.

As I start this week with teaching procedures and building routines, I plan to focus really hard on purposeful explanations.

1 comment:

  1. I always try and explain why I do what I do. I've even shown my classes Dan Meyer's TED talk.... Right now I'm trying to figure out how to explain the "Ladder of Instruction."