This is the latest in a series of blogs by partners of the Fluency work.
By Leslie Kosanovic
While driving to work this morning, I arrived at a turn in the road and saw a very large bird approaching the double yellow line. I immediately and, seemingly simultaneously, looked in my rear-view mirror to check that no one was behind me and I hardily engaged my brakes. Well, it was none other than a beautiful female turkey. Following so very closely behind her were the sweetest eleven baby poults (yes – I “Googled it” and that is the name for a baby turkey ). But wait, the story gets better. For some reason, before hitting the gas, I double- checked and looking to my left, sure enough, number 12 was struggling to keep up. He was running at full-out baby poult speed to catch up with the others. Good news, he did “cross the road.”
This event is quite the analogy for our profession of education – is it not? This is a vivid visual for equity, compassion, authenticity and agency – is it not? This is a moment that also made me curious – Where do they live? - Will they all survive? - Where were they going in such a hurry? - Would they be moving that fast if they were not crossing a road? - Could they really be that smart? - Is this many poults typical? - Should I feel guilty in November? - What do they eat? - How fast do they grow? - Could I turn this one moment of curiosity into a lesson? – Oh, YES, I can!
Now, to share my moment with a classroom of students. I would kick it off with the description of my encounter. I would do a version of a KWL to pre-assess our collective knowledge and to solicit other experts in my room on the subject. (Note: In two prior teaching positions, I had many students that were very knowledgeable regarding fair/farm animals. I learned so much from them. So, I stop here to “thank” them one more time). We would generate more questions for which we would want to seek answers. We would have choices and perhaps divide into similar interest groups to find the answers in order to satisfy our curiosity. We would seek out our resources. We would add to our questions, as we all know that when we find an answer, we typically also generate an additional question or two. We would be using low-tech and high-tech tools for our research/presenting. We would maintain the sense of urgency in pursuit of answering our curious questions!
As a former science teacher and a current curriculum supervisor, I would never “pass up” the opportunity to tie many standards to this lesson. For example, if I used this moment and the Ohio Standards for Grade 7 in the areas of ELA, math, science and social studies and with the understanding that the exact numbers would depend largely on the questions that my students posed, I estimate that I could address from four to six ELA standards, several writing and speaking/listening (presentation mode) standards, multiple math standards focused in the statistics and probability domain, two areas in social studies (one in historical thinking and one in economic resources), multiple standards in science focused on biotic and abiotic factors and energy flow. This could fit within a stand-alone content area, a joint project between two or more content specialists and/or a grade-level project.
Curiosity is defined as the eager wish to learn or know about something. I felt a sense of urgency to get some of my questions answered – hence the new term “poult” and this blog topic! After all, Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious.” I believe that one must maintain their curiosity in order to remain creative. For this audience, by “one”, I mean teachers, administrators, students, staff and other stakeholders. In summary, I would like to encourage the readers to ponder – Do we ever really have to sacrifice creativity? Or - do we continue to work hard to facilitate our own classroom culture of choice, where productive struggle is encouraged and a place where students are sad when they leave because it is such an encouraging, creative community. I wonder . . . what do turkeys do in the middle of the afternoon? Well, we’ll add that to our list!!
Noteworthy Points to Ponder: