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Archive for March, 2009

The Snow Plow Method

The Snow Plow

The Snow Plow

Last Thursday, our school district was smacked by the largest snowfall of the season with wind gusts of 62 miles per hour, a winter hurricane.  The blowing snow made the country roads impassible and classes were canceled Friday morning.

After removing the snow on my sidewalk and driveway I headed into the office.  Snowplows are not uncommon pieces of machinery in my community, but as I waited at the stop sign to allow the plow to pass, I mashed two ideas; the plow and its effect on education.

The plow passed with impressiveness, but left much of the snow on the shoulder of the road to be dealt with at a later time.  These massive plows serve a specific purpose, clear the snow as quickly as possible and allow other machinery to do the clean up.

We have entered the second semester and some teachers and administrators may be reviewing annual goals for progress or completion of benchmarks.  It is essential if we have fallen behind to not “plow” through our content.  When educators plow through content to reach an arbitrary goal of finishing the textbook, we loose focus on teaching the student.  When we teach with the plow mentality, we get through the material or content, but cannot discriminate what is essential for learning and some kids, like the snow, get pushed to the side in haste to reach the arbitrary goal of completing a textbook.

I find it rather easy to identify problems and more difficult to find solutions.   How do we set the focus on student learning when so much rides on state exams.   Another blogger has similar ideas and illustrates them on her latest post.

We must stop plowing and focus on learning.

Let me know!

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