Ah-ha Moment – At Last

Oh Eno board, how I hate to love you… fellow fellows, I encourage to keep trying.  I’ve struggled with the Eno board as well, but I am gradually mastering the controls and learning how to troubleshoot.  I intend to make a habit of calibrating it immediately before I even start class, and when in doubt, change the battery.  It still seems like there’s something not quite right with one of them, but nonetheless, using it every day means I’m gradually getting to the point where using it feels more organic and less obtrusive.  When it works.  Also, thank God the lights have stopped blinking.

My big Aha moment happened right before I taught my midlatitude cyclone class last month.  I spent some time covering the storm and its life cycle, diagramming each stage.  We looked at satellite images and weather maps.  Then I told them all to close their books and notes and grab a huddle board.  I gave each group a different stage of the life cycle and told them to work together to recreate what we’d just gone through as much as possible.  Everyone in the group gathered around and pitched in the pieces they remembered, and before long I had all the stages correctly diagrammed and summarized with very little correction from me.  We hung them all up on the board in a row to see the complete life cycle all at once, and I walked from one to the next talking about storm tracks and where the storm would be in the U.S. at each stage of its life.  I’ve since used a similar tactic with El Nino diagrams, and on Thursday I asked them all to draw and label the three types of faults we’d learned about during the prior class while I got everything logged in and set up. The huddle boards are a great way to review material and get them collectively engaged in practicing the all-important diagrams that accompany so much of what I teach.

The room IS very full with my 29 students, but I will say this: they are undoubtedly engaged.  They ask fantastic questions all the time, and it just gets better as they have gotten more comfortable with what to expect in that room and more comfortable with each other and with me.  I just keep my roll-with-it attitude going every day, and the days are getting more and more frequent when I feel like I’m finally picking up steam.

PS – I haven’t observed anyone else teaching yet.  That either means that someone observed more than one of you, or that one of you still needs an observation – please let me know if I can help anyone out in this way!

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2 Responses to Ah-ha Moment – At Last

  1. robertfrans says:

    “…The huddle boards are a great way to review material and get them collectively engaged in practicing the all-important diagrams that accompany so much of what I teach….”

    Jennifer, for as much as I use HBs, I think you just solved a problem I am having his semester in my Learnlab at GVSU! I’m starting off my class tomorrow with your technique to review the key aspects of the semester that they have been struggling with. This will get them all involved and all of the “parts and pieces” from the semester will be linked together on the wall visually to kick off the class. Thank you! Rob

  2. This is really cool, Jennifer: “…and it just gets better as they have gotten more comfortable with what to expect in that room and more comfortable with each other and with me.”

    About the peer observation, please check with Jerry. Thanks.

    Sorry for my lag-time in responding. My bad.

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