Saturday, February 23, 2013

Engaging Texts

I have this idea that life is interesting.
And I should talk, read and write about it.
Maybe that's why I blog.
That's also why I spend my weekend looking for interesting pieces in print to share with my students.

Its called engaging texts.

I know that because I went to the mandatory common core professional development period this week.
I sat with the math teachers and read an article about how the great mathematicians were inspired to study mathematics through their love of gambling. I was engaged.  I love gambling.  I'm not sure how the probability of drawing an ace out of deck of fifty-two cards relates to  the magic fairy delivering a winning hand  at the video poker machines at World Resorts International but I read the passage with the math teachers and developed a "winning response" to the assignment:  Develop a question that requires thoughtful reading and text based evidence in the answer.

By winning I mean, the facilitator read my question aloud.  Which means I "won" more than the negative forty dollars I "won" at World Resorts International last Saturday night.  (0>-40)

Of course the real discussion didn't get read aloud.  That was the discussion that started with, why are we doing this? and ended with the plaintive I would really like them to know something about the history of mathematics  but who has time for that when we have to cover the whole curriculum before the test?

Which, coincidentally was exactly the topic of this week's (not) interesting piece of print I tried to share.  (My life is filled with text to self connections, even though the PD facilator told us that  terminology is no longer cool- we no longer care about whether a text relates to our lives).

We read an article written by a high school student about the Advanced Placement exams killing all the joy of learning with their formulaic approach to covering a specific curriculum and the cut throat need of the students to "score well" in order to obtain admission into an"elite" college.  It wasn't exactly analogous to our lives, since AP doesn't figure largely (and by not largely, I mean none at all) in our course offerings.  But the sentiment exists.  We don't teach learning about those gambling loving mathematicians because we are so busy trying to get one more topic in before the Regents Exams.

It wasn't a grand success.
Bernie thinks an engaging article is about food.
Nina thinks I should just bring in the food.
Laurence wishes the school offered AP courses.

I ask. "What would be an engaging text?"

"One that comes with a diamond ring."  I'm told.

I will look for a more "engaging" text this weekend.
Hope springs eternal.
I have this belief life is worth reading, writing and talking about..

1 comment:

  1. I didn't think of that...a diamond would make engaging reading.

    I hadn't been in Mangia in ages either and it was even better than I remembered.