Archive | February 2014

Try Something New!

why-blogWhy blog? A year ago, if I had been asked if I would consider blogging, I would have likely answered with a resounding, “NO.” Yet, I am often the first person to suggest to others to be adventurous in teaching and in learning…try something new. SO… after the gentle nudging of a respected colleague I decided to give it a try. I do not consider myself a gifted writer by any stretch and for me this was a deterrent. Even so, I decided to put pen to paper and get started.

Blogging my thoughts has been fun. It helps me to share my thoughts with the school community and colleagues. It helps me understand the ways in which my thinking is similar or different to those around me. But for me, the real power has been in the act of writing and reflecting. In an age of information overload, blogging has provided me with an extra filter which helps me slow down my thinking and really consider what resonates with me and WHY.

I am doubtful that three paragraphs of writing could convince you to begin blogging if you are not already doing so, but I am challenging you to think about how you and your child reflect on what you are learning and the power that writing can have in your lives.

The Power of Doing

the_power_of_doing In my third year of teaching I covered one of my classroom bulletin boards with the following saying from Confucius:

I hear and I forget;

I see, I remember;

I do, I understand.

Whether I realized it or not at the time, that message was a reflection of my philosophy on teaching and learning.  Seventeen years later I still believe that DOING is at the core of LEARNING.

If I think back to my days in elementary school (some 30 plus years ago) my memories are not of note-taking, colouring or spelling lists.  Rather I remember my role as the ‘macaw’ in our grade 1 production of Bambi.   I remember making a clock that ran on the energy from a potato, and of the project I wrote on the duck-billed platypus because I wondered about how an animal with such a strange beak could survive.  Each of these memories involved elements of creation, exploration and action – different ways of “doing.

This week I have watched the “Power of Doing” unfold throughout our school using inspiration from the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.  530 students have become honorary members of countries participating in the Sochi Olympic Games. In mulit-grade groupings they have collaboratively created cheers and flags for their countries. On Monday we will experience our own opening ceremonies first hand. Olympic teams will enter our gym, as countries, bearing their flags, and singing their chants. Junior students have researched every Canadian Olympic athlete.  The researched posters adorn our hallways.  As competitions are won, medals will be placed on the athlete’s poster.  Next week we will host our own outdoor Olympic events. I cannot think of a better way to build community, leadership and learn about the Olympic experience.  This beats reading about it in a textbook anytime!