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{November 16, 2013}   Teaching: Perception vs Reality

Thanks to my state’s adoption of the Common Core, everything I’ve learned to do in my teaching career is out the window.  Well, not really. They tossed out the curriculum (I disliked it, anyway) and have left us to our own devices to develop our units. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I used the sample unit from the state for my first 9 weeks. Yikes! I have a great bunch of kids this year, but turd, meet punchbowl!

My favorite unit last year was the Mystery. I worked really hard last year to make it work, and am determined to use it this year. I’ve been told to check out the unit plan for a parish close by, and was less than impressed, so I’m on my own. Part of Common Core is integrating a variety of types of texts with an anchor piece, all centered on themes.

Perception versus reality. I think it’s ideal for mysteries.

So this week I’ve begun to lay groundwork, trying to encourage higher order thinking while engaging my not-so-cooperative 8th graders. A few PowerPoint presentations and teachertube videos later, we’re preparing to explore Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

Um, yeah. This will go over well.

The point I’m trying to make to the kids is that we base the truth on the information we have. If all we see is shadows, we accept the shadows as real, when in fact they’re a copy of something else. Right?

I’m struggling.

This appears to be one of those weeks where the teacher has become the student. As I prepared my lesson plans and materials, I realized that this series of lessons really applies to my own life. I tend to take things at face value until the underlying factors (ha – a math word!) are pointed out. My concept of reality is very much based on partial truths.

But if you find enough partial truths in enough places from enough sources, can you piece them all together into a quilt of reality?

I think the answer to that is no. I say no because even to partial truths are based in perception, which is individual. We bring our own background experiences and knowledge to our truths. Grizzly and I can be looking at exactly the same thing but see two completely different things.

So I ask my students, what is real? How do we determine what is real? On what can we base reality if we only ever have part of the truth? Are things ever what they appear?

I’m teaching them that some questions can’t be answered. These 13 year olds want black and white, concrete, right or wrong. I’m trying to teach them about shades of grey, that situations are fluid, and things are sometimes both right and wrong. Is it working? Maybe not, but I’m stimulating some thought. And I’m learning a lot, myself.

~ Katie

Posted from WordPress for Android

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preciouskidsquilts says:

You’ll have to use a lot of smaller examples to get them to understand the basic concept of opening their eyes wider. Like is the jar full if I put in golf balls? Is my hubby awake just because his eyes or open, or does his snorig mean he’s asleep? Close your eyes and listen. What do u hear? Small steps so they can see the big ones. I love these debating moments with my kids. I’m careful to never lead their answers, but I find myself waiting with anticipation for their answers. 🙂



katiebman says:

Absolutely! We’ve actually been on this since mid-October now. Some of the kids created poster collages demonstrating perception vs. reality and wow! I’m so impressed!



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