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February 10, 2016
Walking the Plank - by Mary Feagley (High School English)
One of the many things I'm enjoying about our weekly Twitter book chats (#MVeLearn) about Teach Like a Pirate is the idea that times, we need to cast off our fears of going "off script" when we teach. Sometimes when a teachable moment materializes, we have to seize that moment and "walk the plank," right along with our students. Author Dave Burgess calls this "immersion."
I recently had an opportunity such as this in my English 10 classroom. In our quest to read more non-fiction, we were studying about Stonehenge in our textbook. One of the students had a question about how the grounds are taken care of. He was curious about how archaeologists handle the foot traffic around such an ancient monument and how this is monitored. We started discussing possible answers to his question, and I decided in the end to see if we could actually email the experts and ask them! I had had a similar experience two years ago when I taught Contemporary Literature. We were reading the book Spite Fences by Trudy Krisher. Students sent her messages through Facebook and through the magic that is social media (well, sometimes), we not only heard back from Mrs. Krisher, but she offered to visit our class!
We consulted our text and located the names Tim Darvell and Mike Parker Pearson, archaeologists who have both led digs at Stonehenge and are leading authorities in the subject in England. After some research, we found email addresses and sent messages to both archaeologists. We were thrilled to get responses from both researchers about a week ago and yet again this week! It ended up being a great lesson for my students in expert opinions and primary source material. In attempts to modify and redefine instruction, we changed up the plan and "charted a new course." Names in the text became real people who were along for the journey with us.
I've copied a portion of their messages below...
Glad you're enjoying reading about Stonehenge. Taking care of the site is a big job. It is undertaken by English Heritage. The grass is regularly cut and they monitor visitor erosion. When we dug there in 2008 we had to put covers on the grass around the tench and then refill the hole very carefully and put all the grass back. In fact we took a lot of samples to work on the laboratory, so much that we had to bring in extra soil to refill the hole and make it level.
With best wishes,
Tim Darvell Professor of Archaeology, School of Applied Sciences Bournemouth University
Stonehenge is a 'scheduled ancient monument' owned by the nation and looked after by a government organisation called English Heritage. It is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is all under grass and all visitors have to keep to a path. People are only allowed to walk among the stones if they have bought a special 'out of hours' permit. After an archaeologist has finished an excavation, they have to put back all the soil and grass so that the site looks exactly as it did before the dig happened.
Mike Parker Pearson
Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PY--
Those of you joining our Twitter Book Chat tonight...
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Below you'll find the Transcript of last week's chat. Thanks to all who joined and persevered, even without questions!
We look forward to seeing you tonight as we discuss Rapport & Ask/Analyze pages 19 - 54. It begins at 8:00! Remember to use the hashtag #MVeLearn.
Digital Learning Day - February 17th
If you'd like to try something new, collaborate with another class/school, or have us help in your classroom, just say the word!
Help Indiana earn the DLDay State Shoutout on Feb 17th! Register your activity http://www.digitallearningday.org/Page/423
Spread the word by Tweeting the following:
#SchoolHashtag Who wants to go digital with your class for #DLDay? I want to help!
Are your plans on the #DLDay map? Tag members of your faculty http://www.digitallearningday.org/Page/423