Sunday, May 11, 2014

Making It Easy?

I was making coffee the other day and I ran out. I usually don't run out of coffee at my house. My wife always seems to know when I'm getting low and buys more. When I scoop out the last of the coffee, I open the new one and keep going.

I ran out this time because my wife has been recovering from her accident. Now I must think about and take care of details that I usually don't need to worry about. I can buy groceries and run the washing machine. I can make doctor appointments and cook. But my wife usually takes care of these types of things. She takes care of these details so I can do other things without worrying about them. Since she's recovering, I now must do them.

(I'm spoiled. I know it. Now I know how spoiled I am.)

Now this isn't a huge problem but it made me start thinking. (Remember, I reflect...a lot...maybe too much.) I started thinking about the things I do in my classroom to make learning easier for my students. I take care of some details so they can focus on learning. 

But I don't need to do all the "heavy lifting." The other day we were reading about the La Brea Tar Pits. "What is a tar pit?" I asked. No one knew. We stepped back to talk about what a pit is. (They knew that.) We kept talking about what tar is. We looked in the dictionary and read it. We kept building understanding. We spent a lot of time on "tar pit." More time than I had planned. But the work was worth it; at least I hope so. Thinking about things, asking questions, using what we know to build more understanding, using reference materials to supplement what we know...all of those are important tasks. Things that I sometimes push past by giving simple explanations. 

Just like my wife sometimes makes things easy for me, I can make things easy for my students. That helps smooth the wheels for learning.

But sometimes easy isn't the best path for the best learning.

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