The Whole Animal

During my winter at the south pole, some friends of mine were working on a multi-layered research project using a number of related instruments. In order to make the most of their time there, and the considerable expense and logistical hassle of getting and being down there to collect this data, they were milking every drop of knowledge from their dataset. They liked to compare it to using the whole animal, not just eating the choice meat and discarding the rest. Even that scrap of sinew can be used for something.

This is how I feel about teaching. I want to grapple with the whole animal, and I want to learn from everything I do. I want to keep seeing my mistakes as learning opportunities, and keep remembering that this whole endeavor is for the students. My rudder is my students’ learning, and I want everything I do to be focused on that anchor.

I am ambitious: I am starting my first teaching job in a week, but that’s no reason to shy away from doing (attempting to do) the right thing. For me, right now, that right thing has three main components:

  1. using a student centered teaching approach (modeling approach in physics, project-based learning in environmental science),
  2. using standards based grading, and
  3. establishing a climate of trust and relationship in my classroom.

I plan to use this blog to ruminate on some of these, mostly the grading and the modeling, both of which are new to me (both as a teacher and as a student), so they feel a bit strange in my mouth still. Yes, I drank the kool-aid somewhere between earning my teaching license and getting my first job. I’m going to go bite off more than I can chew, and try to digest it here.

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About Andrea Grant

I do nerdy things.
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2 Responses to The Whole Animal

  1. Jason Buell says:

    Welcome to blogging. Frank Noschese sent me a message through Twitter pointing me over here. I look forward to reading about your trials and tribulations with both SBG and modeling.

    At some point you’ll also need to tell us more about the south pole. I’m pretty sure you’re the first teacher blogger I’ve come across that can say they’ve spent time there.

  2. Chris Campbell says:

    I just discovered your blog and I feel like I am looking at my reflection in a mirror. I am going down the same path with implementing sbg in my classroom in 7th grade science and this will be my first year teaching. I had a similar experience and reaction during my student teaching and am compelled to bite off more than I can chew my first year since it will be messy and just-in-time all year anyway. My gut tells me this is how I want to be as a teacher. Luckily I have a supportive admin and very supportive mentor, although nobody near who is doing sbg explicitly. I will be glued to your blog. I’ve started my own as well, but have yet to go public with it. I need time to find my blogger side. Oh, and thank you to Shawn and the rest of the SBG bloggers, your blogs had a huge affect on my ability to decide to do this.

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