Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A few notes hours before the NJEA Convention

Grant Wiggins of Understanding By Design fame is a guru, of sorts. He does admit that what he does is common sense, and he is right. It's common sense.

Kudos to our administration for bringing him in. I work under an incredibly supportive supervisor who has created an environment that allows us to safely dissect our lessons of the day. Mr. Grant's lecture had no surprises.

I think we caught him on an off day.

Grant is fond of sports analogies. I felt like I was watching Jim Kaat at Shea Stadium in 1978. OK stuff, but sad because I knew it was once so much better. More on UbD as I digest it.

Our principal Mr. Chris Jennings ran the NYC marathon in under 4 hours 20 minutes.

He never mentioned it--I noticed he was limping Monday. He quietly told me he had run the NYC marathon the day before.

I'm not sure what impressed me more, the fact he had run the marathon, or that he kept it quiet.

Holding the state teachers' conference during the course of the school year never made sense to me. We have summers off. If the conference has appeal beyond the gaudiness of Atlantic City, teachers interested in their craft will attend even if it isn't just an excuse to skip school.


Unknown said...

I love UbD and am probably still a novice at it, but is a much better way of lesson planning. Writing conventional lesson plans which I am still required to do is tedious and difficult now. I am hoping to smash a few rules in this year and next.

I agree about conventions. We no longer have money to send teachers so we need to take our personal days to do such. Ridiculous but we do it. Having more conventions in the summer would most definitely help.

doyle said...

I'm less than a novice at UbD, though it looks like that is going to change.

I've been blessed with a supervisor and colleagues who actively ask questions of each others plans daily. Why did you do this? What was the goal? Why do you want your students to know this? Did it work?

We can wander into each others' classes pretty much anytime we're not teaching our own. At first it was unnerving, but I cannot emphasize enough how transparency in our methods helps all of us in the department become better teachers.

We've been informally using backward design for years without calling it that.

Our supervisor encourages us to smash boundaries when we have a reason to do so. (She's also a big part of the push to get technologies you're using into our classrooms here. That the classroom wiki has not yet been set up reflects my fumbling more than anything else. I'll be perusing your blog for help this weekend.)