These are my notes from Sue Pearce’s presentation, “Creating Innovators in a Common Core World,” at the Ridiculous Innovations Conference for Kansas City Public Schools on May 29, 2012. Sue is the secondary curriculum coordinator for KCPS. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Discuss with a shoulder partner: What did Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. and Steve Jobs of Apple have in common?
- had vision
- focused on large scale paradigm shift: changing ‘normal’ for lots of people
- good at presenting their ideas to get others to follow them
- died before their time

Summarize your table’s ideas into two sentences:

Both Dr. King and Steve Jobs were able to motivate large numbers of people to follow their ideas through clear communication of their vision. They not only thought outside the box, they worked to redefine the box.

Our outcome: In this hour we will share our thinking around creating innovative, problem-identifying and problem-solving students and still ensure students leavening our schools are ready to tackle their futures in an ever-changing global society

How many of you have parents who worked in a single job or career their entire life?
- Many teachers are in this boat: Same job, same profession

You can never entirely/completely have a ‘finished’ skill set for a job today
- even those who work for the same company have to keep

P21 Common Core Toolkit
- A Guide to Aligning the Common Core State Standards with the Framework for 21st Century Skills

P21 Common Core Toolkit

Quotation from page 3 of the toolkit (PDF):

As education leaders incorporate the CCSS into school systems, P21 urges them to do so in a way that honors the fusion of the 3Rs (core academic content mastery) and 4Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication and creativity and innovation). It is imperative that the CCSS be considered the “floor” — not the “ceiling” — when it comes to expectations for student performance in the 21st century.

What does it look like when we prepare students for the ceiling instead of the floor?

What does it look like when learning experiences ask students to do more than the 3Rs?

What will be the effects of these changes?

Kansas is part of Smarter Balance CCSS consortium (Oklahoma is in PARCC)

Lessons that have more than one right answer should be a big focus in Common Core learning contexts

MY THOUGHT: WE NEED TO BUILD STRUCTURES IN OUR SCHOOLS WHICH ENCOURAGE MUCH MORE INTERDISCIPLINARY CONNECTIONS AND PROJECTS AMONG CLASSES AND CONTENT AREAS. INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK SHOULDN’T BE AN ACCIDENT OF FRIENDSHIP OR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AMONG TEACHERS, IT SHOULD BE BUILT INTO THE LEARNING DNA OF THE SCHOOL CULTURE.

Book: “Creating Innovators” by Tony Wagner
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c6_Hzgqfmg

Also reading book “The Big Picture: Education Is Everyone’s Business” by Dennis Littky in the KCKSchools curriculum group

Book: “The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need–and What We Can Do About

We must give up on the idea that ‘one size fits all”

MY THOUGHT: ANSWERING THE QUESTION “CAN WE MAKE SCHOOLS MORE ENGAGING” IS 99% ABOUT PEOPLE AND GREAT EDUCATORS. THIS IS JUST LIKE “GOOD TO GREAT.” WE HAVE TO HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE ON THE BUS, AND THEY HAVE TO BE IN THE RIGHT SEATS. I REALLY DON’T THINK THAT’S TRITE, I THINK IT’S ACCURATE. DO WE HAVE ADMINISTRATORS WILLING TO HELP TEACHERS GET OFF THE BUS IF THEY DON’T WANT TO BE THERE AND HELP CHILDREN?

Paul Bottino of the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard puts a challenge to universities that applies to all levels of education:

The value of explicitly information is rapidly dropping to zero. Today the real added value is what you can do with what you know. And it is really in the doing– in the probing of the universe, the pursuit of a query– that the really learning takes place.

WE LOOKED AT A VIDEO TALKING ABOUT HOW GREAT IT IS WHEN A KID WANTS TO RIDE A BIKE AND LEARNS IT. MUCH OF THE INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE WE ASK STUDENTS TO ABSORB AND REGURGITATE ON CUE IN SCHOOLS TODAY DOESN’T LEND ITSELF TO ‘PERFORMANCE BASED’ LEARNING LIKE RIDING A BIKE. I AGREE VIA SCREENCASTS AND OTHER MEDIA CAN MAKE THE DEMONSTRATIONS OF MASTERY OF SOME COGNITIVE TASKS MORE PERFORMANCE BASED. BUT I THINK WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT THE CONTENT OF THE CURRICULUM, NOT JUST HOW IT IS ASSESSED. I ALSO THINK IT’S FALSE TO SAY “VALUE OF EXPLICIT INFO IS GOING TO ZERO.” I’M REMINDED OF “CULTURAL LITERACY’ BY E.D. HIRSCH. HOW CAN WE TALK MEANINGFULLY ABOUT GENOCIDE IN RWANDA WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS NO CONTEXT, BACKGROUND, OR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WWII DEATH CAMPS IN GERMANY IN THE HOLOCAUST? EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE IS VITAL FOR HIGHER ORDER THINKING. SO I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD GIVE PEOPLE THE IDEA THAT EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE IS WORTHLESS. IT ISN’T. THE MEANINGFUL USE OF INFORMATION IN RELEVANT CONTEXTS IS KEY, LEARNING FACTS OUT OF CONTEXT IS STILL GENERALLY NOT HELPFUL OR BENEFICIAL. BUT I THINK SOME OF THE STATEMENTS THROWN AROUND HERE ARE OFF TARGET.

I NEED TO READ TONY’S BOOK, AND I WILL.


Check out Wesley's new ebook, "Mapping Media to the Common Core: Volume I." (2013) It's $15!

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