Saturday, February 9, 2013

Project #3 C4T #1

Post #1
I was assigned the Cooperative Catalyst website as part of my C4T#1 assignment. I found an instructor by the name of Chad Sansing, a Humanities teacher at Henley Middle School in Virginia, and read his post titled "The classroom should be the place where the train stopped in the woods." He tells of his love of riding a train because he doesn't have to drive and he can work, sleep, and just sit uninterrupted for hours. In this particular post, he tells of how the train he was on pulled to a stop somewhere in the woods of northeast Virginia. As he looked out his window at the woods covered in snow, he began to think of how he saw one view and the person in front of him saw something different and so forth. At that moment he was reminded that this is how our journey through education should be; "we should build classrooms and communities in which we can all observe, discover, and own something uniquely ours that comes into being only because we have chosen to travel together, to learn together, and to share together."

I told Mr. Sansing of my train experience and how I wish I could enjoy more scenes like the one he described in his post. I found his comments about education very thought provoking and agreed that we should take more detours from the routine of teaching and testing and give students more opportunities to discovery new territory.

Post #2
Chad Sansing's most current post is titled #dlday 2013: a year into democratizing composition.  It gives a great illustration of how his students are challenged and how he approaches teaching his students.  He states that the best part of digital learning day is that it gives him the chance to assess himself against his students' potentials.  I highly recommend reading it because it poses many interesting questions, such as, "am I really helping all of my kids find themselves in their learning?" and "is my classroom open?  Am I?"  but I couldn't help going back to a previous post titled, when they came for us they came with standards, with the following link, I chose to summarize this one because I agree with it so strongly.  This is one all teachers should read.  In this post, Mr. Sansing says that too often our question as educators is "Why isn't this student learning the way we want him to?" and instead shouldn't we be asking "How does this human, individual student best learn according to biology and affinity?"  He makes great points about how our current methods of teaching are focused on test results instead of the needs of each student.  He also points out that we as educators are restrained by the standards of the system, pointing out how we need standards that support alternate forms of teaching that cater to individual learning instead of commanding what and how we teach.  He invites "everyone - teachers, students, and parents alike - who is, on the whole, dissatisfied with how our schools work - to take just one step forward toward a more open, just, and joyful classroom."  To find out more about making a change toward open classrooms and less standardized testing, Mr. Sansing shared #openschools, with the following link,

The reply I posted agreed with what Mr. Sansing had written.  I told him that as a future educator, I hope to make a change.  I hope to see the needs of each student in my class and create an environment where they can discover their true potential.  I thanked him for the invite and the challenge to create an open, passion-driven classroom.  I am taking the challenge and discovering more about what I can do as a parent and teacher to reduce the standards and increase the joys of learning.

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