Thea Analyzes ‘System’

This blog often gives the impression that our classroom is the land of milk and honey, that we effortlessly uncover amazing orthographic truths, willingly and simultaneously, and that all students are fully engaged in every step of the detective work. Additionally, I know that I portray myself as the masterful orchestrator of this scholarly bliss, this dance of inquiry and scientific investigation.

But that’s not always the case.

I often say the wrong thing, or reveal too much too soon, or don’t allow adequate time for struggle and reflection. Sometimes the kids lose interest, or they goof off, or they spend entirely too much time on a misguided project, a sign of my failure more than anything else. This last week before the October break, excitement for the holiday undoubtedly a factor, was a bit of a mess, the type that makes one question one’s role as an educator.

And then Thea came along, literally in the last fifteen minutes of a Friday afternoon before vacation, and shared the following. Thank you, Thea, for rescuing me from my pity party.

11 thoughts on “Thea Analyzes ‘System’

  1. Mary Beth Steven

    What a wonderful record of thinking through an inquiry! I was fascinated with the logic and bravery exhibited here. So often we wait until we have a conclusion before we share. I love this “start to not-sure-if-finished” presentation. It does indeed reflect the theme shared here that the question is more important than the answer! I can’t wait to share it with my students!

    Reply
    1. Dan Post author

      Thanks, Mary Beth! It is bravery, isn’t it…but I never thought of it that way. How brave for this student to admit, “This is what I’ve discovered, but my thinking is not yet complete…there may be more.”

      Reply
  2. Dan Post author

    Hey Mary Beth…that was my favorite part of Thea’s presentation…”The end…or is it?” I love how she recognizes the endless possibilities of these investigations.

    Reply
  3. LEX

    This is a standout performance! Glad Thea took the stage here. She has clearly established herself as a real scholar. It absolutely helped reshape my own understanding of the word “system.”

    Outstanding!

    Reply
    1. Dan Post author

      Thanks, Gina! I never associated ‘system’ with ‘stand’, but early in her investigation, Thea found evidence that made her think it might be a possibility…and she kept brining up ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ as evidence of an ‘st’ base. “I remember Old Grouch showing us that word…” she kept saying. Brilliant.

      Reply
  4. Pete Bowers

    I just had to reiterate Mary Beth’s message: “So often we wait until we have a conclusion before we share.”

    And what a mistake that is!

    Thank you, Thea, for sharing the process of your brilliant hypothesizing. This presentation of yours is such a rich gift to we teachers.

    You perfectly illustrate the joy that learners gain through the process of building our own understanding through scientific inquiry.

    Reply
    1. Dan Post author

      Yep, agreed, Pete. My favorite part of Thea’s presentation was “The end…or is it?” Ha! Love it! A true scholar!

      Reply
  5. Old Grouch

    After I had savoured and re-savoured this joyous celebration of orthographic scholarship, I wrote to colleagues in the real spelling community around the world suggesting that they savour it too. The responses that I have had have been admiratory and celebratory!
    Here’s the text of the message that I sent to colleagues.

    I have just has the immense pleasure of visiting Dan’s latest post.
    Go to it – make your day! Revel in real orthographic scholarship from Thea (orthographic “goddess”!) who, like the rest of this class, met real spelling only last month.
    You’ll see and hear how Dan is the very model of collaboratively validatory scholarship with not even the suspicion of a whiff of a hint of the cognicidal straitjacketing tramlines of pedagoguery.

    The opening sequence of Thea’s iPad presentation says it all: ‘The question is more important than the answer’
    Enjoy witnessing the constructive pleasure of real scholarship where the unhurried quest for understanding is all.

    Reply
    1. Dan Post author

      “…unhurried quest for understanding is all.” Thanks for the reminder…I was dangerously close to hurrying last week.

      Reply
  6. Mary McBride

    What a great investigation and presentation, Thea! Truly, I did “Enjoy witnessing the constructive pleasure of real scholarship where the unhurried quest for understanding is all.” It was a pleasure to see your hypothesis and how you still do not know the ‘answer’ but your inquiry is far deeper in understanding than most textbooks or vocabulary lessons.

    Dan, I love your intro comments especially “….don’t allow adequate time for struggle and reflection.” I thought I was the only one that felt that way as my word inquiry is often constricted to a 30 minute time frame. Thanks for your frankness. Love it all!

    Reply
    1. Dan Post author

      Nope, you’re not alone Mary. There is always WAY too much to do in schools, particularly for the students. “OK, kids, start this activity…now the clock says it’s time to go to art…hurry along…then let’s start a new activity in math…” How do these kids do it? They learn in spite of us!

      Reply

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