Mar 182011

imageThe limits of each student’s background knowledge form a critical barrier to learning. Despite our best intentions to structure curriculum to build an education, brick by well-ordered brick, actual learning is a messy business. It is more like throwing mud at a wall, seeing what sticks, and then throwing again. Having related knowledge already already in place makes the learning process more effective.

Smart-You provides short nuggets of interesting knowledge. There is no attempt to map it into a concept-dependency structure. Each piece stands alone. It may introduce an advanced idea so that it simply sounds more familiar the next time. It may review and reinforce existing knowledge. It may inspire an independent desire to know more. and that’s an exciting target.

Consider using these resources during independent, prep, or self-directed time. Waiting for students to finish coming in before school starts? Offering a reward for early mastery? Creating a self-directed research station? Light fires of individual interest. Encourage students to “commit random acts of learning.”

As we grow up, one of the biggest hurdles is not “knowing what we don’t know” and not having someone to introduce us to new ideas and possibilities. We consider ourselves to be such caring mentors.

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