The Cube – Designing More Engaging Tasks #MTBoSBlaugust Post 8


I shared in Post 5 how we had a wonderful thought-provoking, energizing, filled-with-laughter district PD this week.  I spoke with a board member at an open house Thursday night to let her know how wonderful it was.  She cackled saying, It must have been pretty good – I heard people bragging on it who NEVER have anything good to say about anything!

Former teachers and designers of the Look 2 Learning model John V. Antonetti and James R. Garver visited more than 17,000 elementary and secondary classrooms to prove that learning-focused instruction is essential to boosting student achievement. This infographic gives a comparison to what 17,000 classroom visits look like and why they can't be wrong. #teaching #education #schoolsColleagues on Call

We spent quite a bit of time looking at Medina’s 12 Brain Rules and connections to John Antonetti’s Qualities of Engaging Work.  I will post more on my notes with Medina’s work later – but it was actually a precursor to this information.

About 3 years ago, our district had a PD where we spent (wasted) too much time on defining rigor.  This cube was actually shared at that session.  However, I never actually did anything with it.  I would pull it out for a moment while sifting through files.  I think I used it once to complete a district initiative, but never to be used again.

Well, it is Mr. Antonetti’s cube so I suppose if anyone could bring it to life, it was him. An he introduced it by flashing pictures of a Rubic’s Cube – He shared how they ( a school in crisis that turned things around ) chose a cube since it is actually the interaction of 3 domains.


Before jumping into the cube, I think its interesting to note some brain research Mr. Antonetti shared.  Girls and boys process information the same, but in different order.  Visual, Pattern, Emotion or Emotion, Pattern, Vision

We did a task to determine if we were Visual or Emotion.  So interesting, yet powerful to see how different people sitting around you processed differently.  It was eye opening, yet also confirming.  One statistic he shared that really made me pause.  There’s a population of students… 7% actually skip emotion & vision and go straight to pattern. (Autistic).

After looking at separate sides of the cube, we realized each side represented some aspect of student processing.  If we consider each side, ensuring our planned learning tasks address each domain, then the task is more likely to be engaging for the learner.  Every task that was modeled during our PD, we took a moment to reflect and highlight which parts of the cube had been evident.

He also described 2 students: Melissa Sue & Bubba.  One who is very into school and the other, not so much.  The typical classroom will often support Melissa Sue’s mentality – “the model student”  and we often leave Bubba behind because we fail to engage him.  One comment made was that if we plan activities to teach Bubba first, Melissa Sue will still get a chance to make connections and learn.  But if we plan activities that address Melissa Sue first, well, Bubba feels defeated, disengages and little learning takes place.  (This is my interpretation of the notes by the way).

The front of our cube is based on work from Schlechty Center.  I will go my best to post later on each of these aspects.

Finally, this Powerful Task Rubric for Designing Student Work was in our packet.  Sadly, too often I have fell into the 1 & 2 column.  My intentions are to purposefully plan tasks that will fall into columns 3 & 4 – leading to more student engagement – leading to more learning and better retention.


 Goal:  (hopefully as a department) to plan, implement and reflect on one task each week for each class utilizing the cube.

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