May. 25th, 2010 05:43 pm
kimberkit: (Default)
I'm done! I think I did well! I love everyone :) In that exhausted sort of way.

Now, to solemnly bring my towel (in honor of Towel Day) down to the grocery store, studiously ignore the "you are insane" looks, shop for stir-fry ingredients, and snuggle with [livejournal.com profile] cayenne and [livejournal.com profile] microhylidae.

I leave you with this thought: wouldn't life be better if we all had more silliness in it? Also, cookies. Or cupcakes. Those are good too.
kimberkit: (Default)
It occurs to me that the thing that keeps people's attention is whether they're being entertained and finding something shiny/enjoyable. This thought comes up a lot during Chem class. Man, I used to love Chemistry in high school. I loved the explosions, the way that we know things work because of the instability of intermolecular forces, the idea that the world is held together fundamentally by electrons zipping around in crazy ways. Our teacher once had us run around in circles to show electron orbits. She used to make things blow up regularly, with pretty colors.

But my current chem class teacher doesn't demonstrate any of this -- no science experiments in class, no games, and sadly no group work: no chance to work together on the math part of things. His lessons fall short because he doesn't let the class breathe -- he lectures and doesn't use Socratic questioning, and ... I'm bored. (Tragicomedic quote from last week: "You only think he's not a bad teacher because you do all the reading from the book.")

Without play, you never get anyone's interest, and you'll never get anyone to like what you teach. All of the lessons that went really well in my classroom were ones that involved play -- short story prompts from ambiguous newspaper headlines, or acting out scenes, or playing Mad Libs to teach parts of speech, or poem writing using stuff in the room.

Playfulness is interaction without high-stakes self-consciousness. At its best, it is highly creative at drawing people in, letting them brainstorm without feeling worried about a product. It's about shared entertainment, a common goal, invoking common knowledge. It doesn't have to involve bonding, although that's important too for classroom management, but you have to be willing to have a group energy.

All of the workshops I've ever attended that have succeeded have elements of everyone playing together. If we weren't laughing, we were breathing together, fiddling with some project together, concentrating together for one short period at a time. Without that element of ... shared enjoyment, of the willingness to not be completely goal-oriented, it's actually really hard to learn or even pay attention. We are social creatures -- we take each other's cues in learning just like in any other social interaction, and it works better if we enjoy ourselves along the way.
kimberkit: (Default)
So, some random factoids from class, which I was reminded of over a lovely coffee with [livejournal.com profile] regyt earlier....

From my human development class: puberty in girls begins between ages 8-13 (link to about.com). That is wacky stuff if you think about how we must start sex education much earlier than we currently do -- I got mine in 6th grade, at age 11. That is actually three years too late to explain the question of, "Why is my chest tender and growing?" if you happen to be at the lower end of the developmental spectrum. It is also just odd to consider -- 8 seems so young and innocent. But... we have a case of a mother who gave birth when she was five years old.


From my biology class: longevity is genetically related -- there are genes that code for aging. Unfortunately, if you have those genes activated, chances for cancer skyrocket. (This article seems to back up my bio teacher)


From my physics class -- okay, more of a random thought: if light is an electromagnetic wave, and those converter-glasses from all the cool spy movies allow you to see infrared light, how much more sensitive can those conversion glasses get? Can they let you see radio waves? Holy moly, that would be spiffy.
kimberkit: (Default)
Back when Copernicus first proposed that the sun was the center of the universe, not the earth, he was laughed at. His proofs were discarded.

Today, in physics class, our professor asked us to prove "with just your own eyes" that the earth was round, not flat. He had a friend pretend to be of the "flat earth" society of people.

The class came up with a variety of answers, desperately trying to prove the earth was round. Satellite photos! We claimed. "Oh, you could have made that up. If you can make up the special effects for 2012, you can make up so-called photos." Time zones! I said. If there is one sun, how do you explain that it can be midnight in Asia and noon here? "The sun could be circling underneath the flat plane rapidly and then back over to the other side." Hmm, I said. I felt a pang of sympathy for the scientists who started off trying to prove something to a population that didn't believe in science. We tried again. What about if you drive a plane in a straight line? If you keep going, you'll end up back where you started. "My people don't believe in falling off the edge of the earth. Besides, how do you know you're going in a straight line after all those miles? You have to stop to refuel going all those miles." Argh, I mumbled to myself. Gravity! The person next to me claimed. If the earth were flat, gravity would pull at objects at different angles on different places on earth (because F= GMm/r squared, and the distance r if the earth were flat). "Oh, Newton. You didn't make that theory up. I don't believe in that equation." After a few desultory remarks, we gave up at that point (taking a physics class and hearing that the earth is flat is quite disheartening).

For the curious, this was the proof the professor finally gave, after taking pity on us and the people who were just about ready to lynch his confederate. I think he's leading up to talking about the way light bends before we begin our unit on light waves, but this was a fun intro. (An alternate proof is the lunar eclipse -- when the sun lines up behind the earth, there is a round shadow cast onto the moon.)

Anyway, I think this gives me perspective -- things we take for granted really should be questioned, even if they are "fact."

Also, I am glad that school makes me think :)


kimberkit: (Default)

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