Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Super Summary pages 1-25

Willingham, Daniel T. (2009). Why Don’t Students Like School? : A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass


The author suggests that people do not enjoy thinking unless they feel they can solve the problem presented. If they feel the problem is too hard for them to solve, they become bored and will not work on it. Consequently students stop listening to teachers and disengage when they don’t understand the concept the teacher is encouraging them to think about. So a teacher’s job is to make thinking enjoyable.

According to Willingham (2009),“People are naturally curious, but we are not naturally good thinkers; unless the cognitive conditions are right, we will avoid thinking.” (p. 3). Willingham asserts that by combining adequate knowledge of a subject with a student’s innate curiosity, that student will find solving a problem in class to be an enjoyable experience and achieve the success necessary to engage in the learning process. As teachers, we need to make sure our students have the background information necessary to make problem solving enjoyable.

The author suggests that teachers engage the students’ interest in a subject by asking a question at the start of a lesson. If the students have adequate knowledge of a subject they will want to think about the question and try to answer it. This essential question should be something the students have an interest in since thinking is rearranging information already present in long-term memory and combining it with information from the environment in such a way that a problem can be solved.

This presents some challenges in the classroom. A problem cannot be too hard or too easy; it has to be just right. As teachers try new lesson plans they must keep a journal and note what works and what doesn’t to challenge students and achieve optimum engagement in learning. Since not all students are in the same place lessons must be tailored to each student’s ability. In order for a student to critically analyze information they need to have the facts necessary to accomplish the task.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To me this image represents students being engaged in learning. Too often students are asked to watch and listen in school. I think learning occurs when students are active participants in solving problems. When students can "show and tell" they demonstrate an understanding of the subject.

Please Stand By

I chose this image to show what some students experience in school. They don't enjoy school because they do not feel engaged. They are waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity to become actively involved in learning.


I read the first few pages of the book the evening that I got it in the mail. The statement that first caught my attention was, "Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not designed for thinking." I thought that this was an interesting concept since one of our main missions in education is to teach students "to think". I decided to read this book because I have two children in my house who tell me that they do not like school. (Difficult for a "teacher-mom" to hear sometimes!) I am "thinking" that learning how people "think" will help me understand why my children and so many others say that they do not like school.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Cover

I chose this image because it looked pretty drab and uninviting.  I got to thinking that this might be how some of our students view school in this day and age.  They can go home and be wowed every night at their computers, and then they have to get up in the morning and go into an environment that might look like this.

Accomodating All Learners

I chose this image, since part of the book will address how to adjust my teaching to accomodate different types of learners. I know that all children learn differently and am really looking forward to finding ways to spcifically engage my advanced students who are bored and/or the student who can't focus due to behavior, attention, and/or their academic limitations.

Welcome to Literature Circle Fourteen!

Your Super Summarizer schedule is as follows:

Section One--Due October 28, Patricia Fisher
Section Two--Due November 4, Beth Green
Section Three--Due November 11, Tami Dewes
Section Four--Due November 18, Tracy Cook
Section Five--Due December 2, Roxanne Krebs
Section Six--Due December 9, Colleen Lecy