What I learned about education by wrapping Christmas gifts

Last night I locked myself in the guest bedroom to wrap my wife's Christmas presents.  I didn't think this would be a difficult task since I have been wrapping presents for many years.  I wrapped her "main" present easily; it was a standard box shape, so I didn't have to put much thought or effort into it.  Her second, smaller gift was slightly more complicated, so I had to think about how I was going to wrap the present before I started, but in the end I used the same basic method I did for the box.  When it came to her third gift, one of those travel cups that has a built-in straw (sorry for the spoiler alert, Kim), I decided to use the same process that I did for the other two gifts, but low and behold, I wasn't successful...at all.  I tried to wrap it several times before I had the stroke of genius to use the gift bag you see to the right.

After I put her gift in the bag and admired my handiwork (or lack thereof), I started thinking about some of my current students and how wrapping Christmas presents is a lot like teaching and learning:  the same method doesn't work for everything.  While some students learn best using traditional "sit and get" methods, other students will not learn a thing without being actively engaged in the learning process and involving all of their senses in the learning experience. 

As you get ready for the new semester, keep my wife's travel mug (sorry again for the spoiler alert, Kim...) in mind.  One size doesn't fit all for wrapping Christmas gifts...or for education.

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