One of my all-time, absolute, fantastically favorite enduring understandings to discuss with students is my “Burning Questions” lesson. I developed this with my friends and colleagues, Dr. Laura and Dr. Holly, two of the smartest people I know; so smart, in fact, that you don’t even know how smart they are because they make everyone feel like “they can do it, too.” (Note to my students: that’s how I want you to feel in our classroom, as well).
We started the discussion yesterday, Friday. And overall the initial discussion went fairly well. There were some side conversations in 7th, but I suspect that some of the talk and chatter was on-target. There was some silence in 1st period, probably because you hadn’t had your Monsters or Mountain Dews yet. (Just kidding!) So, we’re all still getting to know each other. It’s only the third week of school. We started late. We’re cramming a lot in, in a short time. This discussion usually goes a little awry at first, only in the sense that when confronted with the question, “what are your burning questions?” most people don’t have a ready answer. It’s like when you go to the mall or the grocery store and there was something you really wanted and then poof! you forget why you went there, there are so many choices, you’re overwhelmed. It’s a “deer in the headlights” feeling–you’re not sure which way to go. Well, that explains why some of the students didn’t participate. But of you most did. Given the conversation and discussion, in every class period, people had something to say. And I know your brains were working.
Here are some of the questions you posed:
- Is the world going to end on December 21, 2012?
One ridiculous website I found was: http://www.december212012.com/. Its cheap commercialism and sensationalising of the world’s end is laughable. Now, students – I want you to tell me why I would state this thesis. You can post it in a comment or in our other forums.
The other mistake I made was thinking it was the Aztec calendar: yikes. It is the Mayan calendar that has this prophecy. To learn more about the ancient Mayan civilization, click on this link. I don’t know why I was confused, but everyone makes mistakes, and I knew something wasn’t quite right. (Using my powers of METACOGNITION to correct my thinking! Ta -da-da!!! Super Reading Strategies, AWAY!!!)
Go to these links to learn more, and read the books:
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-03-27-maya-2012_n.htm: This article lists books that relate to this topic:
Current and coming books on 2012:
2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck (Penguin/Tarcher, May 2006)
2013 Oracle: Ancient Keys to the 2012 Awakening by David Carson & Nina Sammons (Council Oaks, November 2006)
Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation Into Civilization’s End by Lawrence Joseph (Random House/Morgan Road, January 2007)
The Revolution of 2012: Vol. 1, The Preparation by Andrew Smith (Ford Evans, January 2007)
Serpent of Light by Drunvalo Melchizedek (Red Wheel/Weiser, Autumn 2007)
Other burning questions:
2. Why do people age?
3. Is there life on other planets?
4. Why do parents abuse their kids?
5. Why is there war?
6. Are there unseen worlds?
7. Why am I drawn to fantasy novels?
8. Is North Korea going to start a war, and will that war affect my family in Guam?
9. Who invented vampires? (This led into a discussion if vampires are real or not–you’ll have to research that burning question on your own time.)
10. Is there such a thing as reincarnation?
There were many more, and I’ll post them as I collect them. The next steps are to dig deep into our true purposes — are we afraid? Are we seeking answers to help alleviate some of our fears? Do we talk to parents, friends, read books, watch documentaries? Yes, yes, and yes…seeking the answers is the journey.
Here’s what I know: You all have more inside of your heads than you show on the outside.
Let’s work on getting it out.