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Running Thoughts: Summer Running Loss, Equipment Failure, and Off Course

3 September 2012

Writing Time Limit: 30 minutes

After a few days off to get some rest and nurse an injury I ran 4.5 miles today in 54:30. Actually, I ran 4 miles then walked another half mile. It was slow. I was miserable. Five days off was too many. Combine that with the late start and the morning’s heat. It was a tough run.

Here are a few of the things that ran through my head this morning as I ran:

  • Summer Running Loss – 5 days off! Only 5 days and I seem to have lost a step in my running. I couldn’t finish the miles I had planned to run. We’ve been back in school for a few weeks now, but many of my friends return tomorrow. I’ve seen so many posts and read several articles about the problem of summer learning loss, and I guess there is something to it. However, I’m not sure that most of our efforts to combat it are worthwhile. Read these books and we’ll give you a test on it in the fall. Fill out these math worksheets. Complete “this much” summer work. Blah. Blah. Blah. I’m not sure we are accomplishing anything with these types of assignments other than making schoolwork a chore that encroaches on summertime. There must be a better way. There must be.
  • You Need the Right Equipment – I was hoping to run a 10K this morning since that is the distance I will have to run in the road race series this Sunday. I started out running with a bottle of water so that I could hydrate along the way. Unfortunately, the lid of the bottle was defective and by the end of the second mile two-thirds of my water had splashed out. Does this connect to teaching and learning? I don’t know. What is the must-have equipment needed for a quality teaching and learning environment today? A desk? Comfortable seating? A writing instrument? A computer? What do you think? How many teachers and students don’t have the equipment they need to effectively learn in today’s connected culture? What should be done about that?
  • Having a Course Mapped Out – I took off running without a planned course this morning. I wanted to run 6.21 miles, but I only made it 4.5. Was this because I didn’t have a course mapped out? Sometimes I know exactly where I’m going to run. Other times I like to figure it out along the way. I think there are benefits to both approaches. I try to plan my class using “backwards design” through the Teaching for Understanding (Understanding by Design) framework. And yet, I think I must leave room in my planning for the lessons to go where the students need to take it. A friend of mine used to reference the “Teachable Moments” but I’m also wondering if it’s not more than that. What if the student determined the outcomes? Could that even work? Am I assuming too much to think I know just what they need to understand? And then, what if they don’t make it the full 6.2 miles that I have mapped out?

I had a few other things on my mind this morning, but I’ve run out of time. I’d sincerely appreciate your comments about any of these ideas. What do you think?

For all my teacher friends starting school tomorrow, have a blessed year. Love those kids with everything you have within you.

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