NOVA Lab Day 5: In the Dark Finding the Light

By the end of today’s classes, both sections should be in relatively the same place.  Period 3 had read the selections from Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind for Thursday, and Period 9 read them for today.  Both classes also worked at putting up (on padlets) their metaphors of how they saw the issue of a split community in the class.

In reading over the students’ responses, and in thinking, again, of where many of them are.  Many are still moving around in a dimly lit place.  This is my purpose.  To move students from darkness to light.  It’s hardly a new idea, but it is one that many educators avoid…because it can be messy.  Not all students take to this, but the method is researched.  In fact, it’s based almost entirely on Kolb’s cycle of Experiential (reflective) Learning/Practice.  As Queens University explains it:

Experiential education is a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities.

Who I am as a teacher is encapsulated in a singular statement of philosophy I was lucky enough to craft in 1997, barely 4 years into my career:  “When we trust our students, empower them to take charge of their learning, and offer the necessary guidance, they will astound us.”  Knowing how much guidance and when to offer it is key to the art of teaching, and I don’t always offer it at the right time for everyone.  I don’t connect with all students.  It’s something I’m working on…still… after 27 years.  As my friend Monte Syrie (  on twitter at @montesyrie) likes to say:  Do Reflect Do Better.  It’s become a mantra for me, too.

(Students’ views of the day below)

Period 3: 

What happened?

  • After the class commenced and all the students were settled into their typical circulatory seating arrangement, Mr. Heidt began to discuss the issues surrounding the two different demographics of students in the class: those who are familiar with Sir Garreth and those who are not. Although this barrier isn’t detrimental to the class itself, it is still a matter worth addressing. We were then divided into our assigned groups to come up with an analogy for this situation. Shortly after, each group shared their analogy, which brought us back to our own groups to discuss how we can improve these analogies and, more importantly, what we can do to improve the class itself.

So what?

  • The idea of comparing students who have had Mr. Heidt with those who haven’t has always been a popular trend throughout the school. But I never envisioned this concept being something that we actually took the time to discuss. Nevertheless, I can’t think of a better way to kick off the school year. By breaking this minor barrier, each of us will be able to strengthen our empathy (which is a significant aspect of the design process (which is what this class is all about (which is why I took this class (which is important because I want to look for new and creative ways to contribute to the unity of the class)))).

Next What?

  • The goal of this colloquium (I feel obligated to use big words in this environment) is to find common ground and a sense of unity between all students in the classroom in spite of their various histories and familiarities. While I do see this as very possible to achieve, and I do understand that this is the first time this class is up and running, I would not necessarily consider this to be the most important matter to discuss. It’s difficult to try and improve a class you haven’t taken, and it seems as though we’re spending a lot of time on problems that we haven’t even faced yet (or know that we will face). That being said, looking forward throughout the year, if we put our minds toward every issue the same way we’re putting our minds toward this one, then perhaps Mr. Heidt was being accurate when he said that we could become unstoppable.

by Jason S.

Period 9:

Why hello there folks. This next blog post was written by the one and only Gabi, who if you couldn’t tell by now, blogs in a very informal and unconventional way. SoSimu Liu Reaction GIF by Kim's Convenience grab a snack, a cozy blanket, and enjoy, because we’re about to embark on the blog post answering the following questions about Nova Lab today. What happened today? What does it mean? And What does that mean for us in the future? 

What happened today: We did a lot of things today, and only a very small amount of those things were shenanigans, because come on, it wouldn’t be us without some shenanigans. First and foremost, we discussed our reflections on the “Whole New Mind” excerpt that Mr. Heidt had us read over the weekend. (brain neuroscience GIF by University of CaliforniaWhich for me, was both confusing and enlightening, which I feel could also be the name of this class.) From our discussions, we came to several revelations. For one, we claimed that the world today has a bias against L brain thinkers, as in recent years, R brained thinkers have become more relevant in today’s society. However, to this, I must point out that there should be a balance, because if we have too much creativity without any control or logic, then chaos would soon follow suit. Then we moved on to talking about our personal mantras, to which mine was simple, but also stolen from a musical.jeff goldblum 70s GIF That musical would have course be, Dear Evan Hansen, therefore leading the mantra I chose to inevitably be “today’s going to be a good day, because You’re You, and that’s enough”

What does it mean: This means that (hopefully) we will keep in mindis how left and right brain thinkers are separated and how we can wall crumbling GIF by South Park see that in our everyday life, and hopefully be more aware of those separations, and (maybe, just maybe) begin to tear them down. In terms of the mantras we selected, we chose them in an attempt to have a purpose for each day, a certain goal to strive for, if you will. The hope with that is our mantas will help to lead us for each day, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after, etc. 

For the future: The goal for this is for us to be more attentive about the way we are thinking, in terms of thinking with both our left and right brains, our middle brain if you will. Our mantras will hopefully push us forward in our day to day lives. kenan thompson snl GIF by Saturday Night LiveAlright, enough of my thoughts about the day, back to your regularly scheduled program of Sir Garreth Heidt

By Gabi W.


*Featured Image at the top from: Queens University, Kingston.

Published by Garreth Heidt

Designerly Minded High School Humanities and Liberal Studies Teacher Faculty Mentor FIRST Robotics Team #7414--PV Retrobotics. Constantly learning, trying to be more a maker and less a consumer of culture. I believe in the infinite value of a liberal education and the power of design thinking to help make the world a better place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: