Thursday, June 2, 2011

A journey through "A Mind at a Time"

Welcome, I am excited to have the opportunity to explore this amazing book with you.  My intention was to devote the summer to reading and processing this book with you, my colleagues.  However, as I slowly make may way through "A Mind at a Time" I have come to realize that this is not going to be a book that I can begin and end this summer. 

As I began to read I realized this book is going to be a journey.  A journey to help me better understand the students I serve.  This book is going to be a very personal journey for me.  Therefore, I will openly admit some of my posts may be tied to my own personal experiences.  While my goal is not to air my own experience it is my goal is to connect with the material Mel Levine offers on a deeper level so I can use the information to make a positive change in the lives of the students we work with.  What I have found is the way I connect with material is through powerful emotional experiences or massively overhauling the information to make it my own.

I plan to post questions/comments about every chapter of the book as I read through the book this summer and I would invite you to do the same.

Read at your leisure, post as the spirit moves you..



  1. I don't think we can post things on the blog...only comments. I am only 10% of the way into the book but 2 questions have come to mind that may never be answered but I thought I'd throw them out there! My first question is how do you find a balance between being sensitive to a Childs strengths and weaknesses but still wanting them to learn and grasp what you are doing in class? Also, everything in the book thus far is so interesting and inspiring and makes me ready for a class to "practice" a mind at a time on.....but when you are the only person in a class off 26 5 year olds (or whatever age) at what point do you say you can no longer devote all of your attention to one mind and do what is best for the group?

  2. Hello! My first exerience "blogging" ever! Woo Hoo! (And on a computer that is dying but has decided to momentarily work! yeah!)

    Kristen, I can so identify with your thoughts....I've been trying to figure out how to understand and walk that line for the last 15 years. As I was reading the introduction and chapter 1, I was aware that in the background of my thoughts was an odd critical voice that kept saying "... yes, from the perspective of the individual teachers because of their ignorance can often seem indifferent and at times even cruel, ....and out of that it is tempting to assign blame...but it is not an easy thing to stand in front of a room full of students and effectively orchestrate learning..... so the driving question for me has long been how does one do it?

    I have spent the bulk of my career trying to understand individual minds and those insights have been helpful. But I also remember my first experience in the general classroom where I was so in tune with individual needs that I inadvertently caused chaos because I kept adjusting the lesson in response to those individual cues ....and it was a disaster. I think that was the first insight I had in regards to using my understanding of individuals as a form of assessment rather than a method for teaching and, out of that, an understanding of the necessity to consciously design lessons that take into account learning backwards design.

  3. Wow! I'm loving this conversation. I agree. It is totally a balancing act. And I think there are times that the group wins out and times that the individual wins out. Ebb and flow. But Karen, I think you have something there on backwards design. If you don't start clearly with what you expect students to master, you can't tell if either the group or the individual has been successful. Sometimes I so wish that I could go back to the classroom because I want to practice my greater understanding of objectives and backwards design that I didn't fully have when I taught. Anyone want to give up their classroom for the year and take my job instead so I can practice