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Showing posts from June, 2017

It takes the right teacher to make a student's winning effort enough

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This is the fourth in a short series of posts about Coach Morgan Wootten’s influence in the classroom for me. It includes thoughts on his coaching lessons but mainly contains reflections on my experience as a student in his classroom where he remains one of the best classroom teachers I ever had.
A couple other activities that were part of Wootten's class brought many other learning concepts into play.  On Fridays, students, on a rotating basis, would present Current Events (local, national, and international news stories) to the class. We were given freedom to present what we wanted and how we wanted to do it. In a way, it was Google’s 20% time long before Google was even a thing. Again, the effective learning methods of student choice, students teaching other students, relevance, public speaking, accountability, and authentic audience all came into play in his classroom.

But, that was just the lead into a far bigger activity.
As a significant part of the course, we each were assign…

Wootten started class with a quiz and did it in Hall of Fame form

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This is the third in a short series of posts about Coach Morgan Wootten’s influence in the classroom for me. It includes thoughts on his coaching lessons but mainly contains reflections on my experience as a student in his classroom where he remains one of the best classroom teachers I ever had.

Morgan Wootten followed what I came to know (and later incorporate) as the “classic” DeMatha class structure: Quiz. Grade and discuss quiz. Direct Instruction, Inquiry, and Storytelling. 
Class always started with a quiz and it was five questions which could be vocabulary and/or reading recall. 

We always just thought that the daily, low-stakes quizzes were given to hold us accountable but that was only partly true. What he was also doing was putting into practice the Testing Effect. We were getting retrieval practice on the important concepts, something Daniel Willingham and others have shown is so important to learning. It’s not surprising that when I think back on it, one of the other great te…

Building Connections to Legends

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While he was nationally recognized as a great coach, I witnessed that Morgan Wootten also incorporated many of the most effective teaching and learning strategies in his classroom each day. Even if some of those lessons weren't as readily apparent as the reason for a basketball player to be using a tennis racket in practice. (see Part 1 in this Wootten series).

One of my first days in Morgan Wootten's World History class as a freshman, Dr. Charles “Buck” Offutt came into our classroom and “interrupted” us to have a discussion with Wootten. Offutt was already a veteran at that time, having been at DeMatha for over 20 years (he retired at 52 years) while teaching English and coaching the football linemen. Our class was drawn into their conversation (later to realize that this was on purpose) and at one point Offutt pointed me out.

“Krawczewicz?” he said as he eyed me in the back of the room. Me? I thought. Then I started looking around me like there were several other Krawczewicz…

"Coach, when are we ever going to play someone holding a tennis racket?"

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This is the first in a short series of posts about Coach Morgan Wootten’s influence in the classroom for me. It includes thoughts on his coaching lessons but mainly contains reflections on my experience as a student in his classroom where he remains one of the best classroom teachers I ever had.

In a recent documentary about DeMatha’s longtime Hall of Fame basketball coach Morgan Wootten, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski says that Morgan Wootten’s blueprint is all over basketball. Wootten was seen as an innovator in the X’s and O’s of basketball and on the people he coached. Looking back on my experiences in his classroom, I think his (along with a few others) blueprint is all over my classroom at DeMatha as well.

DeMatha vs. Power Memorial game preparation

A great coach must be a great teacher and one of Wootten’s signature moments in coaching shows this to be true.  In preparing for DeMatha’s second Power Memorial game back in the 60’s, Wootten had a player use a tennis racket i…