Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Dancing Through Math Class?

In activities, education, inquiry, math, thinking on September 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

*This post is a reply to a thoughtful educator that I respect and with whom I disagree on certain education-related topics. The stir began with my tweet,


I replied to Shawn,

Dancing in a math lesson will not improve thinking. THINKING advances mathematical thinking.”

A cute “engaging” math song might energize the kids but it won’t make them better at math. Surely, “memory is the residue of thought” and it is actually the main key to thinking (see D.T. Willingham’s posts on cognition and learning), but to use dance in 2nd grade as a way to memorize subtraction facts is not the most effective way. Despite the general belief that testing is damaging, cognitive science demonstrated that testing has a far greater impact than additional study. So if you want kids to memorize their number facts (so as to give space to higher-order thinking in solving problems) instead of making them dance it is better to allow them to self-test or to test each other in pairs.

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Thinking: Shaken Not Stirred

In activities, inquiry on February 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm

prov·o·ca·tion  (prv-kshn) n.

1. The act of provoking or inciting.
2. Something that provokes.
Our brain needs it. To engage. To learn. To remember.
In an inquiry-centered environment learning provocations abound. They motivate, sustain, invite to future wonder.
The recipe? Confusion, strong reaction, interest. One or more.
What are some ways to put that into practice in a classroom?
1. Photos
Because they are worth a thousand words.
Use various strategies:
I See / I Think / I Wonder
Silent Conversation
Musical Tables etc.
There are millions of photos available that can be used in inquiry on various concepts – poverty, conflict, power, gender, multiculturalism, pollution – basically anything and everything.


In education, school on February 19, 2013 at 11:51 am

If children’s learning is prescribed…there is little chance for them to actually stop and wonder. Is there?

Curricula, classrooms boxes, timetables.

Can curiosity really thrive in this environment we set up for children?