Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How the Baseball Card Collectors Club Introduced Me to the Deeper Learning Competencies

I've been thinking a lot about what deeper learning means in today's classrooms and the many ways it might look. Some may think that deeper learning is a new concept or just the latest buzzword, but it certainly isn't. I was able to identify an example of a time that I experienced deeper learning as a student. It happened nearly 35 years ago and it helped me get through middle school during a time when I was struggling both academically and socially. The interesting thing is that the experience had nothing to do with an academics (or technology) but had everything to do with me becoming a better, more confident learner, thanks to a science teacher who had a passion for collecting baseball cards and started a club.

Baseball Cards and Deeper Learning
How the Baseball Card Collectors Club Introduced Me to the Deeper Learning Competencies

Content mastery- I loved the back of the baseball cards even more than the front because that's where the numbers were. Despite struggling in math class, I had no problem calculating batting averages in my head. I used division with ease to figure out how the result of a batter's plate appearance would impact his overall average .

Effective communication- The room we met in after school once a week was often filled with lively debates about who the best players of the day were and the advisor was very much a part of the discussion. One game we invented to rank players was called "Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame".

Critical thinking/Problem solving- Any card collector knows that trades are a great way to enhance your collection, the conundrum was always whether to consider a trade based on value or simply because you liked a certain team or player. A great deal of thought was put in before parting with any card.

Collaboration- As a group we made decisions about what to do at our meetings and came up with ways ways to make our hobby even more enjoyable. I remember working together as a group with our advisor to draft a letter to administration requesting a television so that we could watch a game in school on opening day.

Learning ho to learn- I did not enjoy reading at all as a youngster but I begged my parents to subscribe to the Providence Journal, not for the articles but because I absolutely HAD to have access to the box scores. I would read them, cut them out, sort, and memorize them like flash cards, a skill that would benefit me years later.

Academic mindset- My perception of the the other students in the club was that they were academically superior to me and I felt intimidated by them. Nevertheless, when it came to baseball knowledge I had a certain confidence. That confidence eventually transferred into other areas of my life in and out of school.