December 31, 2021
Over the years, I’ve tried so hard to find the perfect hands-on opportunities to bring the learning to life for students and teachers alike. I didn’t just want to be good for others, I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be effective and efficient.
I was always searching for the best standards-based models, the most profound PD expert, the most famous author or consultant with all the answers, and even the end-all-be-all strategies and programs to get it done.
But the world doesn’t work that way.
As lifelong learners living in a real world, we don’t work that way.
Growing skills in discerning people and resources from whom we’d like to learn is priceless.
The quality of people, media, and resources that you allow to influence you, your networks, and the learners around you every day need to be vetted with incredible scrutiny. Why? Because our work is sacred.
This year, I was provided a few opportunities to learn from the bad model.
While I was continuously researching and searching for the best in the business, I was afforded a few opportunities to learn what NOT to do.
Learning what to do is valuable; learning what NOT to do is invaluable.
There were a few 2021 experiences that brought me back to my STEM Specialist days. So badly, I wanted to replicate a great, valid, proportional, accurate, hands-on model of the solar system for third graders. But have you ever tried to find an authentic model of the solar system? With all the size variations and proportional implications, it was [nearly] impossible. No third-party vendors were making this happen for kids, let alone nine-year-olds. At all.
So… What can you do? Don’t our kids deserve so much better than this?
What a great opportunity to… absolutely critique and scrutinize this horrible model of our solar system.
OH MY GOODNESS! It’s Terrible!
What might you change about this model to make it better?
And that was [indirectly] the best learning experience. EVER.
Kids loved criticizing proposed evidence that appeared factual, yet was far from reality.
The teacher embraced relief about finding the best resources, for the moment.
Upon reflection, we all learned that there are so many people, manipulatives, and resources of all kinds in our lives and in our world every day that might be… The Bad Model… AND The Good Learning Opportunity… At the same time.
Whether the resources we get to experience in our world work or not, they’re still learning opportunities.
Have you ever experienced an opportunity like this?