Planning for Passion

As so often happens, it started with a tweet:

My response:

For fear of turning into its biggest fanboy, this is one of the things that I love about the MYP. The focus is more on unit planning rather than lesson planning. The focus is not on presenting your content in a specific order; it’s on engaging and connecting with the students.

Everybody (I hope) has a curriculum document that states the content standards that need to be covered. But is there any reason why that needs to be the focus of your unit, with intermittent and ancillary connections made to things that matter to your or your students? Why not start with the things that matter to the students? Ask questions, provoke discussion and debate, get the students invested into the class, all the while knowing where you as a teacher want to end up. That’s what I mean by planning for passion.

Education and Basketball

I started coaching in my first year as a teacher. First volleyball (I was pressured into it by one of my administrators) and then basketball (what I truly enjoy playing). For various reasons, I haven’t done any coaching at UNIS until this year.

Even though I wasn’t coaching last year, I’d often discuss strategy, offensive schemes, defensive schemes and general basketball ‘intelligence’ with the Steve, the head coach of the girls team. We’re pretty much on the same page in terms of how we see the game and how we think it should be taught and played at this level.

During lunch yesterday I sat down with Steve to plan out practice for the day. We had a very spirited discussion (that drew quite a few comments for our basktball geekiness) that started with our philosophy (we want to run, be agressive, play a trapping defense, layups are more important than jump shots) and ended with a series of drills and situations that would a) prepare our players for that style of play and b) allow us to build more complicated (and realistic) drills and situations in the future. It was pretty thorough and it took all of 20 minutes, including the time to eat our lunch.

Why can’t it be that simple when it comes to planning our units? Is it because we lack the passion? (I hope not!) Is it because we lack the common understandings? Is it because we have our own agenda in terms of what (and how) things should be taught?

Image Credit: Basketball Strengths by andylangager licensed under CC BY NC