Friday, July 27, 2012

Teaching Should Look More Like Calvinball #EdChat

I have always been a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan. Bill Watterson created these amazing characters that I was able to connect with and enjoy their (mis)adventures. Their final comic is one of my all-time favorites. I try to look at each day like Calvin and Hobbes did in this strip.

I want to focus on the iconic game of Calvinball for this post. Here is one strip that summarizes Calvinball:

You can find the specific rules to Calvinball here

I have one big question, 

Shouldn't our classes look more like Calvinball?

This might seem like a ridiculous statement, but I firmly believe in it. We are moving more and more toward standardized, cookie-cutter instruction, I think a nice dose of Calvinball (AKA Creativity) is exactly what our classrooms need. Giving the students to freedom to explore and create can be a scary idea to teachers, administrators and "experts" that like to control things, but we all know the power of empowering children. Letting go of the control and allowing students to explore is such an amazing thing to witness. I didn't "let go" all at once. I'm still "letting go" a little bit more each year. When the unit ends, I'm always glad I let the students create their rules and design their own projects. 

The more control I have given to my students the past couple of years has been amazing. I have seen engagement soar through the roof and I have seen kids have more fun in the classroom. Not every student jumps on board to this plan, but more do now than in years past when I used the lecture/discussion model exclusively. Having a classroom that more closely resembles Calvinball would allow for many different types of learned to enjoy and and engage in the learning process. 

Calvin and Hobbes will always have a special place in my heart. Even after the last comic years ago, I can always return to these good friends and learn a lesson or two. Calvinball is just one of many different ones I will take into my classroom. 

Do you think Education needs to be more like Calvinball? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

- The Nerdy Teacher