Moritz's Blog

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh, the games we Play

I have to say that Friday's Liveblog/Fishbowl was the best we've encountered so far in this little project. We were joined by Dan Maas, Sue Chandler, Jeff Whipple, Tim Stahmer, Kelly Dignan, Mike Porter, and Tim Stahmer to discuss the Play chapter from A Whole New Mind.

I'm not really sure what made the conversation better than the discussions in the past, but here are some of my reflections.

From the start I have struggled with some of the teaching practices that I was trying to incorporate into my classroom. They are very progressive and very student centered, which I value and think is good for kids. But I had been feeling a big disconnect from my students and after talking with them I got the feeling they were feeling the same. So, last week we spent one day talking. Imagine that. Talking with my students about what they're reading, what they think about the reading, what they agree and disagree with. We talked for an entire hour without interruption, and I think that we could have talked longer. The best part about it was that it was still progressive and still student centered, I just allowed them a different format in which to process the information they have been working with.

What a difference it made in Friday's discussion. Students felt safe to challenge other classmates. To really stood up for what they believed about the book and did not back down from the masses. I think that because we had a previous discussion before the fishbowl it allowed students to take more risks and have their true voices be heard. It was great.

I also think that for the first time, students really connected with the chapter. Because the chapter discussed gaming a majority of the time, students were able to hone in on what they already knew and had experienced. Kids were getting fired up defending what they thought about video games. And, I have to say, it was pretty split. Many students (mostly males) believe that video games are good. They believe that they help them develop skills that no other medium can. Many other students (mostly females) thought video games were pointless and sometimes detrimental. Now, of course, some male and female students took the other side, but not many. What does this say? Girls are overreacting. Boys don't care. I don't think either is true. But is sure made for great conversation.