About a week ago I came across an article online that intrigued me. Obama compares self to Aaron Rodgers-- I found this interesting because I am a Packers Fan, and I know Obama is a Bears fan. As I read through the article I found it more and more interesting. It wasn't so much that the President made the initial comparison, but rather the ongoing conversation by others who took the initial idea and ran with it.
The initial commentators referenced Obama's own comparison, but then I saw the conversation weave and intertwine around more QBs and leaders. It was interesting looking at the comments seeing the details and descriptions of both the leaders and the QBs. The fact that they were making comparisons about two different positions kept my attention.
As a teacher I began thinking about how I would assess their efforts? If I had assigned this to students, what would I think about this? The initial comparison was about Obama and Rodgers but the conversation diverted from this topic quickly. Does this mean they didn't complete the assigned task? Would I look at the multiple other pieces of information that were infused into this conversation as outweighing the lack of connection to Obama and Rodgers?
I know early on in my career I might have been frustrated that students didn't stick to the original topic. However I know realize the skill is more important than the topic used to develop or demonstrate the skill. The conversation shows an amazingly complex comparison with rich conversation between different people all adding new ideas to the topic.
I found the insights about various individuals mentioned in the conversation very interesting and made the experience more engaging for me. I hope you will consider what is the intended outcome of the learning activity when assessing students- is it the skill or the facts that reign supreme? That doesn't mean you can't view both as important. Just keep in mind when students leave your class which would you rather have them be secure in, the skills to be thinkers, or lots of information?
As we chat tonight, think about how you use or could use comparisons, especially those that aren't necessarily similar to create learning activities for your students.
A final note, as I was working on a project this week, I began researching Epic Rap Battles in History and came across some really cool examples, however each and every one I found contained some inappropriate language. I think the concept of having students create comparisons between historical figures in a more interesting way than doing a venn diagram or writing a paper.
We are going with fewer questions tonight to hopefully inspire more conversation based on participants responses.
Q1 Donald Trump is like which professional sports team? Why? #sstlap
Q2 Hilary Clinton is most like which professional sports team? Why? #sstlap
Q3 Bernie Sanders is most like which professional athlete? Why? #sstlap
Q4 Ben Carson is most like which musical artist/band? Why? #sstlap
Q5 Your favorite sports team is most like which historical figure? How/Why? #sstlap
Q6 How can you use this strategy in your own classroom? #sstlap