Monday, April 30, 2012

A nation of zombies?

The Zombie Diet Food Plan (In Four Easy Steps)

by Todd Sepulveda

Do you know anyone who is on the Zombie Diet Food Plan? As you stop to ponder that question, let me assure you that you do. You just might not realize it at this moment. But I promise, by the end of this article, you will have that person in mind. But before I begin, we need to set the ground work.

Zombie 101 – Zombies are undead. They are not a functioning human, with mental capacity to think, talk, manipulate fine motor skills or plan. They are not dead either. They are undead; living, breathing, walking, gross motor moving with the basic need to feed. And what do Zombies like to eat? Well the answer to that would be brains! And that’s where the Zombie Diet Food Plan comes in.

No one likes to diet. Come on, yes there are health benefits. But the idea of going without is too much for many to let that diet last any real length of time. Now, this goes the same for those pesky zombies. Although zombies are undead, they still have to eat. Do you think they really want to diet? No way!

The fact is though, that there are many zombies going to have to diet during the apocalypse because there are so many people without brains!

Have you noticed that lately? What is it? Is it the mind numbing video games? The GMO food? The solar activity? The lack of good music? I run into so many people that I just want to slap some sense into them. But it wouldn’t work, because they couldn’t understand why I was slapping them!

Thinking seems to be way overrated now. Maybe it’s the Google effect? People just want the quick search engine answer and then move on. There is no true effort put into what we think, and as a result, into our actions. Don’t even get me started on taking responsibility for our actions!

No, taking responsibility for our actions is a whole other article. Now, we need a plan…a critical thinking plan!

In my second year of teaching, my district introduced a four step process in solving Math word problems (all our Math is taught in word problems). We hated it because we were supposed to grade the process and not necessarily the answers. This made Math subjective, when it is black and white.

We fought through that first year and figured out the grading portion. But what I learned outside of Math, because of the four step process, was telling. In one parent conference, I discussed having to use the four step process in Math, but how it was no different than what we should do in life to solve any problem, not only Math. One parent agreed and said that his daughter seemed to be making better decisions lately. Was it a little bit of maturing or was it using the four step process everyday to answer Math word problems that seeped into her thinking process?

If you would like to know what the process consists of…it’s simple: the main idea, details, strategy and the how. Here’s how it breaks down.

The Main Idea – What is the problem asking? What are you trying to solve for?

The Details – What are the important facts about this problem? What do you know? What is missing?

The Strategy – This is the part where you try to work out the solution by considering the Main Idea and Details. You might be adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, measuring, etc…

The How – It is important to verbalize/write down how you solved your answer. When you are able to verbalize your answer, you truly understand the problem and know that you didn’t just guess. The How should link back to the Main Idea.

Can this process be used for thinking through more complex problems? Yes! In fact, we do it everyday, when we critically think through our problems. We just need to make sure we aren’t too lazy to go through the process…. And that is exactly what happened. As a Math teacher, the students who didn’t do the four step process easily made silly mistakes. They left out important information and didn’t consider what the question really wanted. One of my responses to students when they told me they couldn’t understand a problem was to first do the Main Idea and Details before I helped them. You see, you shouldn’t go jumping in to every problem without taking the time to find out what you’re really looking for, what you know and what other pieces of information are available.

What would happen if we looked at the major issues facing our world today with a four step process? Maybe we can teach our politicians and leaders what elementary students already know how to do!


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