Friday, July 8, 2011

The Boy Who Lived in The World of Goo

Meet Andrew...

Andrew is ALMOST 10 (Did you hear him shouting that? Very excited about the double digits!)

Like most kids (people in general), Andrew has his own little quirks. He laughs really loud at odd times. He snorts, grunts, whistles, and moans through many conversations. He rotates through a variety of facial tics that would stop anyone in mid-sentence. He's the kid in the outfield looking in the wrong direction and singing Lady Gaga songs. (However, when he get's up to bat, he rarely hits anything less than a double!). He's frequently arguing with anyone telling him what to do because we ALL are SO illogical! And, my goodness, look at the chocolate on his face. If it's not that, it'll be something like spaghetti.

But, he's ALMOST 10!

That is the number that means the most right now. Not, the Ohio Achievement Assessment scores I recently saw. Andrew missed passing both math and reading by 3-4 points. Bummer, right? Not really because this year Andrew was most proud that he didn't run out of the room mid-way through testing, as he did the previous year. So, we have improvement, right.

Well, anyone that knows me is aware that I've developed into a Very different educator than when I started teaching. I've grown by watching my students learn, and I have come to the conclusion that many others have in education: Test scores will not be a valid measure of true student learning due to the very nature of the test. It is a flawed system at best, and not one that I am going to base my conclusions on.

That being said...back to ALMOST 10 Andrew. Where does that leave him? His parents are super proud that he stayed in the room the entire time during the test, did his best to regulate his vocal and bodily tics, and is ALMOST 10!

What I haven't told you yet is that Andrew is a whiz while playing an app called The World of Goo.

This app was one that I originally talked about being a good science app...wrong! After watching students and listening to their conversations, I revised that idea. World of Goo is a THINKING app. It encourages critical thinking and SOME building design. Andrew is a bad ass at this game. While he is playing, he will frequently chirp, sing, and talk about the structure of the goo towers. He will sweet talk the goo balls into stable systems. He isn't using all the perfect terminology, but watching the kid work is a visual preview of what kind of thinking skills are locked up in that chocolate covered head! He was rocking it out so much at a doctors office that a gentleman had to scoot over and watch him work. (The gentleman never interrupted, just mouthed a WOW.)

So, long blog post wrapping up with these thoughts:

Will we ever develop a test that allows us to see how Andrew thrives in the World of Goo? Probably not.

Should ALMOST 10 be as important as the Math and Reading ALMOST passing? Definitely.

Can future teachers, employers, friends, neighbors, and the world in general see how special the boy that thrives in The World of Goo really is? As his mom, I really hope so!

As a teacher of 115+ students every year, I remember...they all have their World of Goo.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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