Monday, December 7, 2015

Adjusting for life's unexpected (or expected) curveballs

In the classroom, a teacher can have the most fabulous well-planned lesson-- researched, corresponded to Common Core standards, technology components embedded, multiple intelligences accounted for-- but, many times, ad libbing is just as important.  Having that lesson and objective in mind, of course, is key to great teaching.

When students are assigned a US state project, and hands shoot up volunteering to research Mexico (from two different people in two different classes!) or Las Vegas (!), the need to back up and go to their level is essential. Or, on the flip side, if students say that this story needs to be turned into a movie, questions like, "How would you change scenes to make it more entertaining?" or "Why do you think so?" helps build their critical thinking skills.

Adjusting the lesson for an unexpected question, or for more background knowledge, or for a need to simply say it a different way makes those imaginary lightbulbs in the air flicker brightly just a little more.

Just like at home, when something needs to be clarified, it is handled as soon as it comes up.  The longer kids wait to have the correct information, the longer their synapses are firing at the wrong nerves.  Jesse lost his first tooth recently, literally lost it.  He had the prior knowledge that he HAD to have the actual tooth in possession so the tooth fairy would exchange it for money.  Tears came, panic set in.  People at my house at the time had an understanding, and we all frantically searched the floor of every room.

After searching and not finding, we came up with a different plan: to write a letter.

We adjusted his thinking so that the next time he lost his tooth (which was the next day), and if he literally lost it again (which he did), he'd know what to do.

We're also lucky that we have coaches in our lives who are constantly adjusting the way the boys learn.  Here, Jason's coach gives him and a partner an extra challenge as they've already mastered the dribbling drill.

Whenever there is a need, adjusting the plans accordingly almost seems common sense.  But it does take some reflective thought, some action.  Our boys are surrounded by positivity that I'm sure they will bury "boys will be boys."

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