Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Real World Experiences

We are currently doing some work in our house with attic insulation.  My husband is reading articles and is researching information pertinent to how to fix some of the air leaks in our attic, so we can try to lower our utility bills and help our house become more efficient.  Recently he is taking the time to read, study, learn, and go over notes he has made.  He takes his time so he can learn as much as possible about what works best, what materials to use, what tools he will need, and how long it might take him to complete the project.

It's a real world project in which he is using multiple texts and resources to help him learn what he needs in order to complete the project successfully.  So far, he has:

*Studied the attic space
*Taken measurements
*Read articles
*Viewed multiple videos
*Talked to experts at stores
*Taken notes
*Read more articles
*Viewed more videos
*Studied the attic space again
*Read more articles
*Taken more notes

When I think of how we guide our students to complete a variety of projects or writing pieces, I'm wondering:  Do I give them enough time, resources, and reflection opportunities?  Am I teaching them how to think independently, or am I teaching them to think about a topic too narrowly, so that they just graze the surface of the topic?  

I want my students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and doers.  Like my husband, I know the answer for my students won't come from one website, one video demonstration, or one short writing session.  The answers won't be immediate.  Sometimes, my students need to learn to persevere, research a bit longer, think deeply, and try again the next day.  

This house project gave me insight into how I might provide more time for students to examine topics, do research, and process knowledge.  Of course, not every project requires this kind of time or effort, but some things do require more time and reflection.  I'm glad to be able to take away nuggets of information from our real-world experiences and apply it to teaching situations!


  1. This is such an authentic example of how important it is to be a literate person. I would love to allow my students an opportunity to do this but we have so much to do. Sad that we don't have time to slow down.

  2. That happens to me all the time. I learn so much from life experiences that translate into my teaching. Good luck with the home improvement project. :)