Monthly Archives: May 2015

Ongoing Reflection and Thinking

Last week I was reminded about the importance of self reflection and choice through play.  When students have both the time and opportunity to pursue a personal interest they are able to connect, collaborate and engage in meaningful ways that would, well, really surprised me.  One of my students is very interested in tornadoes.  He has been exploring books, creating tornadoes and even brought in a “tornado tube” and shared how a tornado is created.  unnamed-4Through his interest and passion for this topic he was able to share his ideas and engage through play and exploration of text about his topic.  He choose a friend to go to the library and get some books on the subject and then read them.  Afterwards he created an amazing picture of what he thought a tornado might look like from outer space.  I was so intrigued by his perspective. After having a conversation about what he created it was clear to me that by giving choice and more opportunities to our students we are giving them invitations to be inspired and share about what they wish to explore.  This is where our students experience critical and deep thinking because they work tirelessly to pursue their own understanding.  Through their curiosity they are  not only sharing what they are passionate about, but also inspire others to learn alongside them. Here is where authentic learning naturally leads to meaningful conversations and opportunities to collaborate.  Later this student asked if we would tweet his picture.  When I asked him why; “I want to share my idea with the world.” I recently heard from a parent as well about their Kindergarten experience.  Through feedback I am able to reflect, rethink and begin to think about things that worked well and what opportunities do I have to make changes moving on.  She shared; “I just want to say a heartfelt “thank you” for teaching our children in a way that inspires them to apply what they learn to real life problems!  You don’t just teach them to memorize – you teach them to understand!  Two examples in this past week show how much __ has grown in your class with regard to understanding math. First, two days ago we were discussing his birthday party. He was trying to determine how to divide all his friends up into the six stations we are going to have. He asked “If we have 5 friends in each group how many is that?”  I asked him what he thought and within 30 seconds he replied “30!”  He explained that he combined stations so he could count by 10’s:) This is on example of what can happen for our students when we create opportunities and invitations to learn in ways that connect, engage and inspire us.  For me I am thinking of ways that I can continue to offer choice through the content I am required to pursue.  I am thinking about ways I might be able to offer choice more often and in ways that might inspire my students to become more curious about the what, why and how we explore together when pursuing questions. unnamed-2unnamed-3Here are a couple of reflections from my students in Kindergarten this year.  We are creating books about what we learned how to do in Kindergarten.  Here is another way to think about what your students learned, but also what they were most interested in.  This is also another opportunity for me to reach out and ask more about why these ideas were mentioned, what they offered? As an educator I want to offer the best learning experience for my students.  I want them to feel important, cared for and also know that I have hope for each of them.  Learning is for everyone.  Through my own ability to ask for feedback and engage in meaningful dialogue about my own learning I am able to make changes and improve learning for myself, my students and their families.  Through my own change, I am growing and modeling how transparency can be revealing, but offers ways to create more learning opportunities that promote meaningful reflection and growth.

Kidblog Post: Inside/Outside of Kindergarten

Read Post Here

Connecting Globally

While I was on Twitter recently I noticed a photograph which caught my eye.  Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.05.12 AMAfter reading the photo I started thinking a lot about what the words really meant and how can we all simply just “open the door” to enrich learning for everyone.  The internet has the ability to share, connect and engage everyone.  Once we “walk” through that door we begin our own learning path, a path that we control.  This is what is so amazing about being connected.  Connectivity offers us all opportunities to learn alongside each other as well as model how to collaborate and connect to solve real world problems.

As an educator one of the greatest gifts I can offer my students is learning “how to” learn through their own learning experiences.  When someone learns how to learn themselves they begin to develop strategies and ways to seek and answer their own questions about what they are curious about.  When we share our learning and ideas with the world we offer others invitations to engage, ask questions and connect with our ideas.  Here is where we begin to model how to have conversations in regards to learning in safe, kind and responsible ways.  Twitter has been a great platform for me to use with my students and also professionally.Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.01.32 AM One of our friends on Twitter is sharing how they are exploring and going to respond to a question we posted about something they shared.  This is a great example of how we can begin to think together as Alec Couros shared in his photograph above. Once we become transparent, we are thinking alongside many people who like you, want to change the world, one idea at a time.

I am inspired by the thousands of people I connect, think and share with.  Through our ability to reach out, take risks, say hello we offer endless opportunities to learn alongside each other.  This is important.  It is happening now.  How are you connecting globally? How are you offering invitations to your students? their families?

Stuck? Just give it a try….