Front page > Lesson Plans > Miscellaneous > G.O.A.L. - Rewire the Brain
"What did you learn today?" You heard that growing up at the dinner table. And hopefully if you spent the day at school, you could dredge up something that, indeed, you learned that day. If you had thought ahead at breakfast, you might have actively looked for something to learn that day.

Our job, for better or worse, is to make that process happen in students, ideally where we aren't shoveling it in, but stirring the fire of self-learning. Where the student is saying "wow, I didn't know that", and then seeking to know more about the real world around them.

You've heard of D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) or SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). How about G.O.A.L. (Go Out And Learn)? Challenge your students to go out and learn, maybe in 30 minutes in the library or with the custodian or at home, and come back prepared to write a paragraph about it or talk about it in class. Pick a topic, make it a free-for-all, or be very restrictive. The goal is to jump-start that inquisitive nature and see where it goes. You can model this process by doing the assignment yourself, and get parent involved as well.

The world is full of topics. For starters, restrict the learning process to:
  • Talking to someone over 70
  • Cereal boxes
  • Observing a preschool child
  • An automobile owner's manual
  • A random topic from the same volume encyclopedia as their middle initial
  • A TV commercial
  • A billboard
  • Observing an animal
  • Taking something apart
  • A single sense, such as feeling temperature differences between a human and a cat
  • A random day in history
  • Graphing an activity
  • Rewriting an event, such as: What if JFK had lived?
  • Interviewing someone; have them describe something they learned yesterday

The possibilities are endless, and the process can be simple or complete. Stuff isn't just there; we can always learn from it, no matter what it is. But the G.O.A.L. is always the same: actively looking for something they know nothing about. With some practice, the old brain might begin to work in a new, self-learning way. What's your G.O.A.L. for today?

This website lets you create and maintain calendars and to-do lists for yourself or groups. The interface may be a little slow and lacking in features, but you can access your to-do list from anywhere, update it at will, and automatically email daily updates to all members of your School Planning Committee.