First, it’s snowing on my WordPress page! That’s pretty cool!
As this season of basketball progresses, I’ve found myself loving every single minute that I’m with these girls. They are quirky, hormonal, obnoxious, and drive me crazy with their attitude, yet, we are having a blast. This year’s version of my 8th grade team is one of the best I’ve had in a while. We feature a fearless point guard, a wing who flies all over the place, and two posts who I’d match up against most 9th graders. As a team, their problem is they don’t have many girls, six total. I’m extremely lucky this year in that I have fifteen 7th graders, so I’m able to pull another post and point guard up, and they’ve blended seamlessly.
Last Friday night, we played against a team who’s beat us in every regular season and tournament game in the last ten years. Some years they are just flat out better, others we collapse under the pressure of “that team”, but they just have our number, plain and simple. Before the game, my good wing comes up and says, “Mr. J, we are going to win this game for you,” because I’ve talked about how long it’s been since we’ve beaten them and how this will be our last year of being our own team. Well, these girls flat out battled, diving for basketballs, playing great defense, but we came up one point short (on a layup where my guard was clobbered, but I digress) and you’ve have thought we’d just lost the game of the century. Girls were not crying but sobbing as though their best friend had just moved away. We huddled up and it’s hard for me to keep it together when they are acting like this! They go off, and one of the parents comes up, telling that they wanted to win so badly for me and that they’d had this game in mind for weeks. Wow.
So my question is, if we can inspire this kind of passion in a game, how can we inspire that in the classroom? How do we help students realize that it’s their learning and to be excited about it? I know with my team, part of this came as I gave up control, something huge for me. I had a team four years ago with no post, so we went to an offense where we pass and cut with very little “structure”, but the girls learn how to play basketball. I see that giving up of control to allow my girls to play works so much better. They are constantly just playing on the floor, creating spacing and options that I could never diagram up. In my own classroom, I’m starting to learn this, giving up that control, but helping them learn. From CGI problems where they are working at their own pace, but all solving the same types of problems to blogging where they’ll start writing more for them, these are ways where I’m giving up that control, yet, helping for my students to learn more.
I love what I do, both on the court and classroom, and am always amazed how the two mirror each other. They both require a knowledge base, an understanding of your “team”, and that ability to teach on the fly. If I could, I’d take my classroom, and make it a court….I’m sure that we’d dominate in fraction basketball! 🙂