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Big Rocks

Our Canadian Editor, Brenda Dyck, invites you to begin your learning activities with the Big Rocks...the essential ideas that lead to profound learning.  We invite you to help us with our Rock Collection--documents, handouts, graphic organizers, and other materials that will guide students toward higher levels of learning.  Send e-mail to Brenda Dyck dyckba@home.com to share your ideas.

This month, we begin with our first Rock:  Project Guidelines, a document that defines criteria for implementing an effective collaborative learning project.

But what are the Big Rocks of Learning?  It all started with a story:

There was once a teacher who wanted to teach her students to think. She filled up a glass container with rocks...as many as it would hold...and asked the class, "Is it full?"

Without a second thought, they all said, "Yes."

She then added some pebbles.  Next she asked, "Now, is it full?"

Only a few said "Yes" this time.

She carefully added several spoonfuls of sand to the container. "NOW is it full?" she asked.

The students said, "No," but most couldn't imagine how to add anthing more to the container...they were just suspicious at this point.

They watched in surprise as she added several ounces of water to the container. "What is the moral of the story?" the teacher asked.

"You can always get a little more done," said one student.
"There is no end to what you can put into something if you only try," offered another.
"Use little bits of time to accomplish big tasks," suggested another.

"Perhaps you are right," answered the teacher, "but consider this: You have to put the big rocks into the container first or the others won't fit."