Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cryptic Curriculum


This recent tweet just got me thinking...

In this age of information, if we pique kids' interests by using "surprise" or "cryptic" elements, how much foundational knowledge will they discover on their own if they think we are "holding back" on them? There's also a lot of positivity associated with "surprises" and "hints" that would be an anchor for retention, application, and creativity.

When I was still in the classroom, specifically teaching 7th grade Science, I would write cryptic words on the board or drop hints about upcoming content/lessons...but I would say no more about it until we got to that point in instruction. I remember a particular time that I wrote the word "JOGA" on the board a couple of weeks before I started a unit on Plate Tectonics. The kids asked me EVERY SINGLE DAY what it meant, and I had them so stirred up and interested by the time the teaching moment came, they were RAVENOUS LEARNERS!

Oh, YOU want to know what JOGA means? Check out this video from the Icelandic singer, Bjork:

I'm going to leave the surprise element in here for you as well, but think about how this might be used for instruction:

-Plate Tectonics


-Writing Opportunities in the Content Area

-Visual Representation (Connector) for the material

-Anticipatory Set

-Essential Questions

Recent posts of mine have been about "Ditching" this or that, and I'm thinking of writing a post on Ditching The "Way We've Always Done It." The way we've always done it doesn't work anymore. Creating an environment of joy in learning is a good start for meaningful professional growth. Maya Angelou once said, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." I think it's a great quote about where we need to be growing in education.

Also, thanks to Joan Young (@flourishingkids) on Twitter for the impetus for this blog post!

I am @fisher1000 on Twitter.

Happy Weekend, All! See you soon in San Francisco!


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