Strong, Light, or Cheap?

I read this about bike parts a few years ago.  The author suggested that when you’re selecting parts for a bike, you can only have two.  You can have strong and light, but it’s not going to be cheap.  You have strong and cheap, but it’s going to be heavy.

I was thinking about this on the walk home yesterday.  Are there things in teaching, especially preparing to teach, that will drop out given the time constraints of systems, emergencies, district stuff and the kid thing that will immediately consume all of your time?  (And that doesn’t even consider real life stuff like dead cats, teen drama, and sprained knees, all of which I’ve dealt with this week…)

Traits of a good unit, off the top of my head at 6:15AM:

  • Real-world application
  • Engaging to the students
  • Academically rigorous
  • Contextualized within a year’s worth of goals
  • True to the school model
  • Co-planned
  • Creative formative and final assessments

    How many can you get each time?  And how do you look at a year’s worth of projects and figure out a balance? I know there are some teachers whose projects hit it every time — that’s good for them, yo — but for me, can I get a balance where I get most of them, most of the time?

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