A Bigger House

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6 thoughts on “A Bigger House”

    1. Yes James it is the choice of delivery systems, if I am understanding your question correctly, and my own problem with that, unique to me I think, is that I just can’t plan any more. I’m owning that. With each passing year in TPRS, twelve of them now, I realize that – for weird me – planning lowers the spontaneity that is the life blood of the method. I fully rely on a template, a framework, and not on planned activities. It’s not even a question of trying to plan – I can’t do it any more. I get bored thinking about planning. As long as I have the frame I’m good. Luckily, most people are not like me, and I could see that most DPS teachers listening to Carol over the past two days were busily taking notes on every single new activity Carol presented, and she presented a ton of them. It’s just me.

      1. Trust me. I love the idea of templates. Like you I hate coming up with activities that will only work on this topic, or with these vocabulary words, or at this time of year. All of the PLC Gold ideas so far can be used any time for any structures: That’s what makes the gold, I think. And even during my short time here I can already feel that we are moving toward having enough quality, high-power, big-bang templates (PQA, rSF, OWI, CWB, RT, bWT, R&D, etc.) to provide plenty of variety without succumbing to that “temporary” feeling of having literally every day or two a different little activity.

  1. “Carol Gaab’s theme in her workshop here over the past two days whas that the mind craves variety ”
    I would agree with that statement as it pertains to “the mind” in the abstract. This takes us back to the problem with the research, so little of which deals with kids in the context of school. For adolescents with their crazy hormones and chaotic lives. I would argue that consistency always trumps variety in their hierarchy of needs.

    1. John is right that stability is a need. Think about small children: they can watch the same video or listen to the same song or “read” the same book hundreds of times. They derive comfort from the familiarity of the repetition. When do kids most often act out? When their routine is altered. Why? The boundaries are no longer clear, so they have to find them again by pushing against them. They are looking for the safety of the fences that keep the bad things out.*

      So, I maintain that the mind – that life – requires both variety and stability. We see it in the very structure of the universe: every snowflake is unique, but they are all built from the same hexagonal template; every spiral shell (conch, snail, etc.) is unique, but they are all built off of the Fibonacci ratios (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.); each day is unique, but they all build off a 24-hour cycle; each season is unique, but they repeat every year.

      So, we have to meet both needs. That’s why rituals in the classroom become important. They supply the recurring template for the constantly varying content. My students can count on my being at the door to greet them every day. I always start with “Hello. How are you? What day is it? What’s the date?” and a little chitchat. We sing for every birthday that I know about. Every Monday we do something related to soccer (usually Bundesliga).

      *I think this is why the discipline piece is so important in our classrooms as well. Often I lose sight of this, but I believe that many of the students who push the limits the most are students who are looking for someone – some adult – who cares about them enough to enforce the boundaries. Discipline should be an act of caring; I am reminded of the verse, “Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.”

      1. I appreciate the analogy with things that occur in nature. Spontaneity and difference within structure. That is what I want my classes to look and feel like. Each class is within the same frame, but the painting of what each class does is different. It’s not exactly what we are getting in Common Core and in the way schools are now set up, but that never stopped us before.

        In this sense, the PLC Gold link becomes even more important. It will list the main frames that work, of which yours, Robert, and a new one I thought of today built around the R and D frame, will provide so much structure for me, at least, so that I am never confused.

        There is your as a frame for writing, jGR as a frame for discipline and assessment, and there is R and D as a frame for reading and CI, and more. All I will need to see is how it all fits into the weekly schedule.

        We’re getting closer to figuring out the rubic cube. Teachers with too many activities have the cube in it’s messed up form, but PLC Gold may be able to provide the cube puzzle in its state of being solved, with all the colors on one side. That would be cool.

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