03 December 2007

Sticky

One of the classes for my Master's degree was focused on different ways to organize curriculum for gifted kids. We students were charged with modeling the various kinds of lessons for one another. I don't remember which format was being demoed on one particular day, but I do remember getting the giggles with a classmate. In an effort to demonstrate our flexibility with responses to the question of "How did civil war soldiers feel after the Battle of Gettysburg?", we took a more tactile, rather than emotional, tangent. Our favourite answer was "Sticky."

As I obviously haven't forgotten this moment in time, you can imagine that it was the first thing I thought of when someone passed along information on the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. (You can download the article "Teaching that Sticks" for free; use the access code TEACH31.) The ideas are intriguing. What is it about certain moments in the classroom which make them "stick" with us for a lifetime---and how can we purposefully plan them?

In some ways, it's a bit of a spin on the UbD "Big Idea" for unit/lesson design...except this has a "hook." It's not just about building an enduring understanding, but about connecting it to something that is more readily retrievable and available to students. I'd like to think a bit more about this and how to implement it. I would think that this has a lot of potential for staff development, too.

Maybe Santa will leave something sticky underneath the tree for me this Christmas. :)

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