Tuesday, September 16, 2014

But I thought BINGO was going to save me?!

You're thinking of Lassie.

Students are slowly but surely (mostly slowly) internalizing another new understanding of our Studio D process this week: Even BINGOs have rules.

The first rule of BINGO is: You do not talk about BINGO. 
Wait. What?! How are you possibly going to make this analogy work, Mrs. A?!
As in, actions speak louder than words. Don't talk about it, be about it.

The second rule of BINGO is: You DO NOT talk about BINGO! 
Talk is cheap.

Third rule of BINGO: Someone yells "stop," goes limp, taps out, the fight is [NOT] over. 
It may seem we are pushing you off the ledge at times, but you have to trust us to hand you the parachute first! If you have trouble correcting your errors or making the grade, ask a teacher to help you - it doesn't make the BINGO go away, and the teacher might help you by reminding you to check your notes instead of just telling you the answer, but if you continue to take appropriate action, you will eventually succeed.

Forth rule: Only two guys to a fight.
This is just you against the work. Teachers are going to show you how to find answers, not give them to you. This may be frustrating at first, but it is better for you in the long run. Along these same lines, copying someone else's A+ work, or asking them to fix yours, is not the same as BINGOing your own. By all means, seek help when needed, from peers, parents, teachers - but be careful that you are learning to correct your own mistakes, not waiting for your neighbor to hand you the answer.

Fifth rule: One fight at a time, fellas.
BINGOs have this tendency of accumulating. Studio D work can seem overwhelming because if you are redoing everything all the time and then the teachers keep giving me more work but I still have to finish that old work, and now I have so much work... This is where organization, time management, and attention to detail come in. Keeping a calendar of all deadlines and schedules, organizing your free time and incorporating "homework chunks," and paying close attention to all directions while working slowly so as not to make careless errors are all strategies I recommend. Too often a student has to BINGO work because of a format error. The more carefully you attend to your work the first time you turn it in, the more likely you are to  be successful and not need the BINGO.

Sixth rule: No shirt, no shoes. 
No work, no BINGO. You can't redo something you never did in the first place. If your work is not complete and on time the first time, you can't BINGO it. Period. BINGO can't save you if you do nothing.

Seventh rule: Fights will go on as long as they have to. 
If you are actively working through the BINGO process, and I can see that you are trying to improve your work, that you are considering feedback to improve, and you resubmit assignments as early and often as possible, I don't care if it takes you 27 BINGOs - you WILL be successful and I will see to it! But if you tap out, if you stop and give up, if you take a 3 week hiatus and mentally check out, BINGOs will reach a limit and you might be stuck with a crummy grade after all. The design process does have deadlines, and therefore so do BINGOs - it's up to you to submit as many redos as you can within the windows of time given to you.

And the eighth and final rule: If this is your first time in Studio D, you have to fight.
You asked to be here. Don't flake out on me now. It's early, and we promised you REAL work for REAL people. We promised you collaboration and leadership potential and hands-on learning. I've done this before, so I know I can and will deliver on these promises. But you aren't sure yet. You're starting to think this is more work than you thought it would be - this is too much work. They really think I'm going to write that thing AGAIN?! Yes, I do, and you may not believe me now, but you will be better for it! That's how you get REAL work done. You do it FOR REAL.

Stick with it, D9. You will do great things this year! <3 Mrs. A

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Winners Never Quit

By Barbara Soblo 

     Well, the honeymoon period is definitely over. The new clothes and supplies aren’t so new, the novelty of high school is becoming routine, and Studio D 9 is ramping up the expectations! Part of what makes our program so innovative and out of the box, is our focus on quality work over quantity. Doing multiple drafts is the norm in our class. But getting students to dig deep to create that quality requires a very different classroom vibe.

     Students know quality when they see it and when they produce it. The scary part for a teacher is that getting to quality can take a lot of time! Our first mini design challenge (what will your one sentence legacy be?) finally got to the Go! stage on Friday. For two weeks, students have designed a single sentence that captures who they are; a sentence that goes deep into their core and really captures their complexities using imagery, metaphor and words that carry multiple meanings. Friday they submitted their final work for grading; our job is now to print & post them before open house Thursday.

     In the Gather stage, students listed adjectives about themselves; don’t select words that describe what you do, but describe who you are. During the Glean stage, students boiled their list down to essentials elements. In the Generate and Gauge stages, students wrote their sentence and through several feedback sessions, the sentences changed into something wall worthy. Both teachers & students focused the critique on three things: word choice, flow, and pizazz. Students presented orally both in small groups & to the entire class. I got goosebumps when a sentence really hit the mark. But them react to the quality created by their peers really blew me away. These kids were mostly strangers some 15 days ago, and they were baring their souls to each other & asking for feedback.  

     The assignment is so simple- write a sentence about you- but in Studio D we don’t do simple. Here we begin embracing the ideals we’ll build on all year. That here we support & push each other in order to create something we can all be proud to put out in the community. That feedback must be given & received in the spirit of striving to make the work better. It’s exciting to be watch their brains switch on as they begin to understand more about Studio D and what we do.

     But the work has only just begun because our first big design challenge starts on Monday.