AWESOME!


Over the past few weeks, we have been reading excerpts from Neil Pasricha's 1000 Awesome Things book and blog. I have challenged my students to notice elements in their own life that bring them happiness and blog about them. Of course, I thought it was only fair that I do the same. See my blog post below ....


The quiet tapping of keyboard keys, the flipping of pages, the gentle hum of students deep in discussion. As a teacher, there is nothing more AWESOME than witnessing learning in action. The moments when you can almost see the gears turning and light bulbs flickering. Oh how I wish I could bottle up these moments.
Over the past few weeks I have been in awe of the learning happening all around me. Your willingness to embrace a growth mindset, collaborate with classmates, and experiment with new ways to show your learning has truly been remarkable. I'm not sure what has led to this heightened level of engagement, perhaps a byproduct of the learning space we have created together? Or maybe it's always been there I just needed to look up, and get out of the way. As you have worked on your inquiries about the War of 1812, your Scratch projects, your discussions on math and literacy and life, you have done so with great purpose and zeal. I am impressed and inspired by you daily.

You have taught me that learning needs space to breathe.
You have taught me that often your best teachers are your classmates.
You have taught me that letting go allows for the greatest of returns.
YOU are AWESOME!

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So where does this come from?

First I must explain a few of our experiences since the New Year. It has been such a whirlwind that I confess that my blogging has slipped.
- We have spent considerable time considering our goals (individual and as a class)
- We have read about inspiring people with inspiring ideas
- We had a visit from Google Pioneers Expedition Program (bring on the Cardboard ladies and gentlemen)
- We have created our own stories in Scratch
- We have tried and failed and tried again on our Spiral Math journey
- We have prayed
- We built shelters in the wilderness
- We have made connections with the past and today
The most explicit example I can describe is the students' inquiries on the War of 1812. After some knowledge building as a class, students considered their own lingering wonderings and recorded them on sticky notes. Then we began sorting them to develop action teams. Afterwards, I really wished we had completed them on a Padlet board, as gathering a group of Gr 7s around a piece of chart paper is a little cumbersome. Students began conducting their own research, organized and synthesized their learning on gDocs, and shared their learning in the most incredible ways. I could not have envisioned what unfolded. All the planning in the world would not have allowed for the outcomes reached by this open-ended inquiry. Students created skits, Prezi timelines, iMovies, representative video games with voice overs, Scratch scenes, news broadcasts.  The depth and breadth of representations was incredible.

So my challenge to you, fellow educators, is to do as Elsa said in Frozen and 'Let it Go'. Let the learning be free. Step back and be a guide, be a mentor, be a witness, but do not take the lead. You will be amazed at what unfolds. It is AWESOME!

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