What is learning?

This week I reprised my role as the Dowager Food Czarina to inspire some delectable potluck breakfast items at our annual Grinchfest Potluck and Last Food Czar Breakfast of the (calendar) Year. I searched my files and found this gem that I wrote way back in 2012 – before I became admin.

I was funny. I had the bandwidth to create. I miss those days. This piece was inspired by the upcoming exams for our students.

We Need A Little Learning (to the tune of “We Need A Little Christmas”)

Haul out the T charts;
Start thinking before my spirits fall again.
Fill up the notebooks,
I may be rushing things, but re-take those quizzes again NOW.
For we need a little learning
Right this very minute,
Review sheets  in the window,
podcasts in the iTunes.
Yes, we need a little learning
Right this very minute.
There hasn’t been a single exam,
But students, dears, we’re in a hurry;
So logon onto the ebooks;
Put up the brightest string of neon highlights I’ve ever seen.
Divide up the content;
It’s time we came up with a study group NOW.
For I’ve grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,

And I need a little student
Sitting by cubicle asking thoughtful questions,
I Need a little learning now

Even as a sing that to myself I think about how I am not sure any of that reflects learning, or does it? Does learning happen in the week before the exam? Are T-charts used to develop deeper understandings? What does coloring in neon highlights have to do with it?

For the first time in 18 years, I will not give a December exam. It feels strange. My design thinking students are building furniture for their final project. It’s been a flurry of activity to see them go from 4 inch prototypes to full-size, working models this week. Their learning is also fixed to a final moment — the moment their friends take a seat in the chairs or use the desks. It’s also not really a final moment. So the chair sags, so the desk is wobbly. Hopefully that will give them a moment of realization and something to work with to improve.

Maybe for next week I’ll have a new spoof for the kind of learning I hope to inspire currently.

Reflection is the key to my success. Life gives me little time for this. Friday night is my deadline.





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