Making Curriculum Pop

Before It Was A Playlist...The Playbook Metaphor

This metaphor didn't work for me because:

1. Too masculine
2. I dunno, football is too violent for talking about school
3. A game is not as openen ended - metaphorically - as art...
Here's the old draft anyway, for those of you who might enjoy it...

On this page you'll find a collection of teaching "plays" that can be used across disciplines and grade levels. I received a lot of feedback that this page was something our crew would find useful. For that reason, I've pulled together some resources here with the caveat that this is a work in progress. I probably have 100 more plays on the 'ol hard drive that I hope to blog about/share in the years to come.

When I write these "plays" up - solo, with the Mindblue crew, and/or with my teaching colleagues - they are usually designed for use at the 6-college level. Elementary teachers generally need to simplify the existing models and are ALWAYS more than welcome to share their remixes of these plays here on MC POP. Additionally, when MC POPPERS add strategies across the Ning, I will add them to the list below as I have done with Bill Zimmerman's post.

I am a swimmer. For those of you that don't understand the connotations of that label you simply need to understand that the odds of me being proficient at a ball based sport are negligible.

True story - the last time I played basketball I broke both my arms. That is a tale I'll have to elaborate on during an as yet unwritten blog titled, "On Kinesthetic Intelligence (or Lack Thereof)."

While I have little aptitude in this area, and almost no understanding of the nuances that occur on the court/field ME LIKE COLLEGE FOOTBALL. This, btw, is why Nicole calls me a meathead every Saturday in fall.

Desmond Howard circa 1991 pictured in a way that might annoy my wife, the Hawkeye - photo from here Desmond Howard + Madonna = My Wife Gets Down with Michigan Football. From

Early in the season commentators always fill air with comments like, "the coach has only been able to install 50% of the playbook" or "when they get a handle on the playbook they'll have a lot of options against that defense." I find this sports metaphor holds up well for teachers. If I were able to do teaching observations from a broadcasting booth I would probably say things like, "Ohh, teacher x didn't quite execute that play" or, when I see half the class falling asleep, "looks like teacher y might need to expand their playbook."

I don't know about y'all, but from about 7th to 12th grade I felt like a majority of my teachers used the following plays in one long, six year loop...
Do a Worksheet with a Partner
Problem Solve (mostly in math and science)
Essay (mostly in the humanities)

It is not easy to have a truly engaging teaching playbook. We all have to work to expand the plays we run during any given teaching experience. I keep working at it and only know this for sure - it takes collaboration, coaching and lots of reading to get your teaching game on. To those ends, I hope that collecting things here will help us all participate in this process as a - laugh at the extended metaphor - MC POP Team.


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