Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mr. Pink wants to hear from you...

Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Daniel Pink. He wants to know...
i wonder if somewhere in this process you could pose a question to your students. it's one i've been pondering, but my hunch is that your students will have more interesting answers than i could summon myself. the question would be something like this: If you had to create a new school -- or reform your current school -- so that it better develops the six senses, what one or two things would you do?

don't want to throw you off your lesson plan, but i'd love to hear how the young women and men of arapahoe would respond that one. maybe we could talk a little about it during our live blogging or some other venue?

thanks again for your great work.

cheers,
dan
So, either on the class blog, in your Personal Learning Journal, or both, respond thoughtfully to his question. This might be one you continue to come back to time and again reflecting your change of thinking as we discuss, read, and react to one another's thoughts.

16 comments:

MollyS said...

Mr. Pink,
If Arapahoe was in my hands, I would incorporate design to make it a more soothing school to be in. I think that a happy, learning environment would make more than a difference when at school. The school needs more than just a coat of paint on the walls. In fact, assuming cost was no matter, replacing the truck loads of processed, puke worthy furniture lining the classrooms of our dear school, with things made out of, say, natural substances would be another step to achieving this goal. The plastic, metal, black and white that coat the school do nothing to encourage happiness and excitement for learning, rather they contribute to the ‘psyche ward’ ambiance that is Arapahoe High School. This English class is an example of what works, this is a user friendly classroom. Here in C11 we sit at tables, on chairs with wheels, rather than in those dreaded 2-in-1 individual learning stations they like to call desks. Maybe if other classrooms saw that we work better together, when we have someone next to us to bounce ideas off of, then other rooms could incorporate this same style into their classrooms.
School is so much more than how it looks, but how it feels can make all the difference in our learning.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to us

morganw said...
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morganw said...

Mr. Pink,

If I were given the option to reform my current school there is only one thing I would really want to change and that would be the class sizes. I think with smaller classes it would open more doors for one-on-one learning. It would also allow the students to concentrate more on school work and learning instead of being distracted by each other. A few of my classes are smaller and I find it much easier to concentrate in those classes than I do in the larger ones. I understand that this is not always a reasonable option, as in college courses, but I think high school students would greatly benefit from that.

Thank you very much for listening to our opinions.

stefo said...
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stefo said...

There are many things that could be changed with the school to make it better. The most important thing, I believe, to prepare us for the future is to incorperate laptops or other wireless devices into the every class room. Not doing is holding us back for the future. The world is advancing technologically at a breath-taking pace and if we don't start preparing for it now we will be wildly out of depth. Internet has unlimited amounts of information at the tips of our fingers. Some people are wary of this idea. "Kids should not be trusted with that kind of responsibility." they say. Try us, we may end up surprising you.

The second thing is revamping the entire school. If you read the news, there are thousands of stories of children desperately want to go to school. Some even risk their lives to learn because learning is a gift. If you ask the average student in America how much school means to them the asnwer would look something like this. "Dude, I like, live for the weekend." Okay so maybe that was a little harsh. But it is true. The attitude of teachers and some school spirt-filled kids is what makes this school great. But ask any kids walking through the doors on a Monday morning if they are happy to be here and the answer would be a resounding no. The walls are white, the lockers black, and the writing surface is welded to the chairs. We need to make the school a place where kids want to go. Paper the walls with brightly colored announcements and color the classrooms with warm inviting colors. Fill the rooms with light by adding windows. I don't know about you but my spirits lift when I walk into a room that's bright and cheerful. Throw away those awful desks and bring out table with wheel chairs for convience and laptops. If laptops are unnecessary then bring in comfy chairs or even beanbags. Having relaxing furniture relieves someone the stress of the class. Think of taking a major test while reclining in a large cushiony chair or being enveloped by a purple (my favorite color) beanbag. For tests usually we have to hunch in our seats which making everything even more uncomfortable that it already is. Bring in the art classes to make murals on the walls. Something, anything to redesign te school so that when students walk in to school, they think, "Wow, I am so glad to be here." It adds a feeling of play to the school, the students can design it themselves using symphony as well. It all connects!
Just so that people don't think that I hate my school the one thing that dosen't need to be added to the school is the element of play. Our school has off campus and off hours. Kids can go and goof around with friends which is fun and helps with productivity.

Lukez said...

If I could change Arapahoe High School, there would be several things that I would change. I think that it would help everybody to have a much smaller amount of credits that would be required for each class. This would help because then we could really have control of our own learning and decide which classes we would like to take. Of course, there would have to be at least a little guiding so that everybody would have to get some math, some science, history and so on. Also I would change the design of the school. I would like to have it so every class was much more designed according to how the students want it to look, or at least have some influence from the students. I also think that it would help to have a laptop for all of our classes instead of just for a couple. I think that this would help to integrate technology into all of the classes that anybody wants to use them in. I would also change the way that the school was painted. I think that just having plain white walls throughout the school is to boring and that it would be to everyone’s benefit to get some colors on all of the walls.

nicolek said...

Mr. Pink,
If I got the opportunity to design my own school there would be a lot of things I would change. First, I would make it a more comfortable environment. We are in the same classrooms five days a week for hours on end so why shouldn’t they be inviting and enjoyable to be in. All the walls are white and some classrooms don’t even have posters up so I think paint of the walls would be a nice change and make it feel more like our home. Another thing is the desks. I don’t like sitting in a chair that is attached to the table in front of me because I feel trapped and very confined as opposed to sitting in a desk with a chair that we can move as we please. Windows would be a nice change also. In each classroom we have at most a tiny window which makes me feel locked in so if we had more windows we would get more natural light and for me it would be a better leaning environment. There are many changes that need to be made in schools and overall it should be a more comfortable, inviting learning environment.

morgant said...

Mr. Pink,

I definitely agree with morganw. I think that smaller classes really would make it easier to learn more. A teacher can't handle 80 students or so asking questions constantly. If there were smaller classes, there would be more one on one teaching, then maybe students would learn better. I also think that more inviting classrooms would make a difference. I like having windows in classrooms, and please paint the walls with something other than white. Now, I'm not saying that every class has to have a designer look to it, but another color would be nice. Those are some things that I would like to see changed.

hannahl said...

Mr. Pink,

There are a few things that could be reformed in Arapahoe to help education and integrate the six senses into learning. First of all, design is sorely lacking in our school. I'm not talking about the classes we have, but the classrooms we have them in. I remember that elementary school rooms were colorful and decorative, which inspired children and gave a positive ambiance to the room. In high school, except for posters,there is barely any aesthetically pleasing classrooms. The walls are always white, the desks are bare and monochromatic, and color is lost everywhere you go. Although this may seem like a miniscule change, I think that well-designed classrooms inspire students and produce better learning.
The second thing that I think needs to change is the lack of technology within individual classrooms. Only a few students (luckily this includes us) get to use laptops on a daily basis, and for us it is only one period of the day. Laptops enhance the six senses in every way. They cultivate personalized, and therefore creative learning. They connect us to people around the world, creating symphony in our learning. They allow personlaztion, creating design. They allow communication outside of the classroom, allowing empathy. And finally, they allow us to find learning on our own, outside of the binding of a textbook, creating meaning and substance in out learning. I suppose they also create play, but we all hope that doesn't happen when the teacher is talking!
The final thing I would change about our school is the way that teachers are chosen. Although we have many amazing teachers here, it takes a very special person to teach with a whole new mind. When hiring new teachers, the administration should look for ones that think out of the box, and teach in creative ways. With this, we will be introduced to whole-minded teachers who will teach in whole-minded ways.

ParkerH said...

Mr. Pink,
I don't know if you want to be called that, or Dan, so excuse my ignorance. Anyways, if I could change my current school, I would definelty incorporate story more in my classes. I love my classes in which the teachers tell stories. It just makes the class better. I have some teachers that rarely do, or hardly ever. I really enjoy my classes in which the teachers tell stories, like my History class. It is a really good class and makes it more fun and establishes more bonding between the class and teacher. That is the very prominent thing, in my mind, that I would change.

kristinah said...

Mr. Pink,
There are many things that I would love to change in our school and any school in general but, I wont go into too long of a list.

First of all, I would love to have more funding and more oppotunities for kids to join in the arts and explore further options besides the required courses of science, history...... I know that there are a lot of kids that would love to join in something creative and fun but have no time because number one, it is not required and their schedule is full with required classes. Number two, not to say that we only do things for credit and not just out of pure enjoyment but, you do not get any credit for doing an outside creative artistic thing but you do get credit for doing sports and for doing your required classes.

The second thing that I would change would have to be a change in the way that teachers teach. I would love to see a more integrated approach to teaching, including l-directed and R-directed activities. I believe that if a teacher takes a project and requires you to put, let's say, the events of WWII in a time line (sequential L-directed) and then asks you to write a statement of what the overall (big picture R-directed) effect of WWII was and has you express your feelings about the war in a creative piece such as a drawing, a song, a poem....... My history teacher did something like this but it was on the holocaust and I know that I enjoyed that project much more than any other one that we had done in that class yet because it required more than just taking information from somewhere else, interpreting it and the puting it on paper for the teacher to read. It required all of the 6 senses. I also feel as if it helped me to retain to information better.

Thank you Mr.Pink for being interested in our input and I hope you enjoy the responses. I look forward to listening to you and maybe talking to you in our future fishbowls. I have really enjoyed your book and it definitely brought new ideas to my attention.
P.S. I know you told Mrs.Smith that when she calls you Mr.Pink it makes you feel old so I appologize if I made you feel old by calling you that :-)

maddief said...

Mr. Pink,

I agree with Morganw and Stefo. Open classrooms allow students to think freely, without feeling restrained. In a closed, square white room, students feel constricted and closed in. Sometimes it makes me panic, sitting in a classroom like that, watching a powerpoint drown me in facts. Having classrooms with windows give students' minds the chance to transition to different thoughts, by looking outside for a moment or so, and then turning their attention back to the teacher. Most teachers lose their students' attentions after twenty minutes, and if students were allowed to let their minds wander of their own free will for a couple of seconds, teachers would not be so frustrated with distracted students.

However, if by recreating our schools you are referring to our learning process, I believe that schools should push students towards one on one learning. If every student at AHS had a laptop for their classes, teachers would not have to spend their classes shoving facts down students throats; the students would have the ability to simply look up the facts on the internet. Rather, teachers should be enforcing more right brain thinking, that computers can not do.

amyw said...

Mr. Pink,
I agree with everyone who has said that open classrooms are best. If a room is open with many windows and light, then I find it much easier to think. When there are no windows and only artificial light, it isn't as comfortable for me because it restricts my thinking. Windows and natural light would also inspire creative thinking.
I also think that if our school was more colorful, it would inspire more creativity and right-brain thinking. The white walls become a little monotonous after awhile, and color would definitely do some good.

amyw said...
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lizc said...

Mr. Pink,

Wow! I think that I could do so many different things with the idea of being able to design a whole new school in order to improve our learning environments. I'm not even quite sure where I should start with this... first of all, I would want to provide a lot of space for students to work and learn in. Sometimes it feels like we don't meet that need here at Arapahoe. However, I would not want it to be so roomy that it would seem way too big. I think that it needs to have a more "home" feeling to it. Second, there needs to be more natural light in the classrooms. Sometimes it feels like I become so bottled up inside the classrooms. When I am able to see outside and receive light from outside it motivates me to work better. So, lots and lots of natural light would be good for the surroundings. Three out of my seven classes have natural light, but most of the time the curtains are drawn. Sure, I know that the teachers don't want just anyone to peak into their classes, but you have to give some thought to what the students want. Third, the wall colors would have to be vivid and lively. I get sick of seeing white where ever I go. It gets boring, if you know what I mean. I don't think that pastel colors would be the best. They need to be bright, but not in a way that is distracting. And lastly, the classrooms need to be unique. It would be so nice to walk into a class that did not look like any of the other classes that I have. To be honest, how of your rooms at home are exactly the same? Probably none! They all have a different character and feeling in the way that they were designed and decorated. Yes, you need to incorporate design in how everything will look. The perfect school will look good, provide a large amount of space, have colored wall, natural light, and have a unique look to every room. Boy, I wish!

alyssas said...

Mr. Pink,
If i could change anything about AHS it would be one-to-one technology. I have noticed significant improvement in my personal learning and learning style, since having access to a laptop in the classroom. They allow me to be in more control of my learning and knowledge and expand it the way I wanted it to. I also believe that allowing more sunlight would help because as of right now, almost none of our classrooms have windows, and if they did I believe it would be a better learning enviroment.