Sunday, August 28, 2011

Die Hard Math

Wednesdays is a special day at Lincoln school; we get out one period earlier. In fourth grade we also do a bunch of things we don't get to do on the regular days. One of these things is learning interesting math. 

To cap off our math Wednesdays, I start with a fantastic math problem from Die Hard 3. The scenario: Figure out the math problem by the end of the math class or the bomb will explode! Students work in pairs and have two different sized cups (to represent a 5 gallon jug and a 3 gallon jug), a water bottle (representing the fountain), and a bucket to dump unused water in.

Celebrating Students With Tech Part I

Companies use interactive tools to celebrate their customers in different ways. McDonalds and Avatar teamed up for the Avatarize Yourself campaign, and the tech company that was responsible for that, oddcast, is responsible for a host of other ways that companies try to promote their product by putting the consumer in their product somehow.  But the award for taking a viewer and celebrating that viewer in fresh and original ways has to go to the Swedish company, tackfilm, which has been working with the Swedish Telecommunications service for the past few years, celebrating those who pay their Telecommunications bill (I think). Their Internet video celebrations are like no other. And their latest idea is putting you in a music video. The title of this video is "I'm A Star!" It's a great video for each child in the classroom. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Punished By Rewards

I was first introduced to Lawrence Kohlberg's 6 Levels of Moral Development through Rafe Esquith's Teach Like Your Hair Is On Fire, and was immediately drawn to it. I've used it every year I've taught since, and each year it's taken a more central role in my social/emotional teaching. The stickler is Level 2: I do something good, because I get a reward. Many classrooms are based on stars or bucks or stickers or whatever. But it's a facade, because there are 4 levels of moral development that are being shut out by introducing rewards like these, and what's more, if the desired outcome isn't crystal clear, the reward system will flatly just not work.
One of the best TED talks I've seen lays this out very succinctly:

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