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Week 6A (Nov.1-Nov.6)- Common Standards

Years ago I learned a bit about Lesson Study, a technique for developing and refining instruction that is commonly used in Japan (and many other countries at this point).  During my time of studying this method of teacher-development, I learned that Japanese teachers were put "in charge"  of educational standards, curriculum, and materials in their country.  As part of their responsibilities a group of Japanese teachers developed the national standards. Interestingly, they wrote a number of standards that included not just the content to be learned, but the feeling to be derived by children.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  The standards included feelings that should be targeted when instructing the standards.  This idea has haunted me because I think it is a critical piece in the engagement puzzle.  Without emotions, we cannot learn. Without emotions, we cannot "feel" engaged either.

To illustrate what I mean about emotions in standards, imagine a standard addressing the science content: Children know about cells and can name the various organelles and their functions.  This standard, written with emotions in mind, would sound like this:  Children know about cells and can name the various organelles and their functions. They express "awe" at the complexity and microscopic size of these building blocks of life.

Can you see that if a teacher is aiming both at the content and at the emotional reaction of the students, they are more likely to effectively engage the students in learning this material? Any teacher knows "awe" is not going to come through a worksheet, a round-robin reading of science text, or a teacher-lecture.  Something more must occur in the lesson to achieve this level of emotional response and engagement with the subject-matter.

So for our final student engagement learning activity, I think we should work together or alone on some common standards and attempt to add the student engagement of emotion to the standard just like the example I provide above.

Here is a link to the Common Core Standards that will eventually become the primary standards document for most states in the United States of America.  You may also have current standards available to you through your own state or country.  You may provide one of your own from a document that is relevant to your circumstances.

Use the comments feature to propose a given standard that you think can be altered to include an emotional response from students.  Discuss what sorts of emotional responses fit with each type of learning.  Discuss how those emotional responses might be elicited, and even recorded or measured (at Japanese schools awe would be recorded by the number of students who made statements or sounds of awe...)

Task Discussion

  • AnnetteV   Nov. 12, 2011, 6:09 p.m.

    I loved this concept of introducting emotion into our courses and curriculum.  Currently we have to inject key competencies (thinking, managing self, participating and contributing etc) and also values into our courses.  Thinking specifically about emotions and having this included in Unit of Work Templates would add an extra dimension  previously not specifically included, to our planning.

    My husband (primary teacher) has an activity of "Activating Wonderment"  when introducing a topic of inquiry to a whole syndicate which is designed to create a "Wow Factor" to the students. Using acting, images, music, items of realia and humour the teachers give clues about what the topic to be introduced.  The students have to guess what the topic could  be and are completely inspired thus the emotion of 'wondering' and 'excitement' is activated. So perhaps we are after all,  as teachers, using emotion in our lessons - but just not explicitly like Japanese teachers.

    I do a Human Rights unit - which would cover the American Common Core Standards of


    • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.*
    • Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text


    • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

    Speaking & Listening:

    • Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


    Negative Emotions (at violations of Human Rights)

    • Anger
    • Rage

    Positive Emotions (at trying to find ways to solve issues of Human Right violations)

    • Compassion
    • Empathy
    • Sense of Justice/morality

    Using de Bono's red thinking hat also addresses emotions in student learning and provides a platform and template worksheets which the students can develop their ideas with.

    The Human Rights Unit is a highly emotive topic in which students explore both rights and responsibilities.  They are highly engaged when looking at how many Human Rights are violated so they can enjoy chocolate.  We watch a series of You-Tube clips and students learn the skills notetaking.  The notes are eventually converted into an essay.  They create a Glogster (interactive e-poster) which highlights another human right violation and looks at how the issue could be righted.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Nov. 13, 2011, 9:27 p.m.
    In Reply To:   AnnetteV   Nov. 12, 2011, 6:09 p.m.

    Wow, Annette.  The unit has such potential for using emotion to get at some important ideas.  Love it.  Tell me how it goes, I would especially like to hear about the emotional connections your students make as they go through the learning.

    Ps.  I really like chocolate, dang.

  • Grant   Oct. 31, 2011, 12:37 p.m.

    The standard that I chose was Build a function that models a relationship between two quantities.  I think students can be amazed or surprised to see the many different relationships between two quantities however students don't usually look at the math behind the relationships and the possible ways they can construct a function that will model the relationship.  One that I often like to talk about that uses math but some people might think is random is play calling in any type of sport.  If students break down the plays and look for relationships they might be able to come up with a function for what the other team will call in certain situations.  I think students or students who enjoy sports would be surprised or amazed at what they might come up with.

    This is just my opinion but emotions like happy, sad, and angry emotion are usually tied to English and social studies courses while emotions like surprise, excitement, amazed are associated with the math and science courses.  However, I don't think this is a rule just probably something I associate them with.  I think every student would be different depending on how they view the class and the things they enjoy. 

    I think the best way to gauge these types of emotions would be by filling out a journal or having the students fill out a survey.  I think you can see in some kids their physical output of emotion which would be easy to note however some kids may be very quiet and reserved without displaying any emotion but still have emotions.

  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Nov. 12, 2011, 11:58 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   Oct. 31, 2011, 12:37 p.m.

    Hi Grant,


    I am still processing your ideas about certain emotions being tied to one curriculum area or another.  It is a very powerful idea to me.  Gives me a thought on a different P2PU course, in fact.

    Thanks for all of your great participation in the course.  I hope the learning was valuable to you.  I enjoyed your reflective posts that helped me to see into your thinking and your "classroom."

    I am hoping you will be able to fill out some course evaluation material for the P2PU people that will help us learn how to make these course better for everyone.  Thanks again!


  • Bonita DeAmicis, Ed. D.   Nov. 12, 2011, 12:03 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   Oct. 31, 2011, 12:37 p.m.

    Hi grant,


    Here is the link for the P2PU eval.

    I hope you will participate and give some input.




  • AnnetteV   Nov. 12, 2011, 6:59 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Grant   Oct. 31, 2011, 12:37 p.m.

    Hi Grant - I am ESOL teacher myself and not in any way shape or form talented at maths. I had a number of students who presented at secondary school level with little or no understanding of even basic primary maths - most of all the language of maths.  I completed two university maths papers aimed at primary school level - with the purpose of teaching my students the basics so they would have a chance of coping in mainstream maths classes at secondary level.

    I started the university papers with the emotional baggage of not being 'good at maths' from my own schooling.  The emotions I felt were frustration (at not knowing the concepts I should know at my age); surprise, relief and elation at understanding that finally, with the new maths strategies and direct instructional learning that was modelled by the lecturers - that even I could be good at maths at my old age!!  This gave me hope and confidence knowing if I could learn these new strategies - anybody could!!