“If you are not a little confused or overwhelmed at this point, then I am concerned. This is entirely different from what you are accustomed to; as I said, it’s a new language. I expect there to be some gaps in your understanding. You should be confused. You should be overwhelmed. But I expect that as we move forward, things will become more clear, and those gaps will fill in. I will work hard to that end. Promise.”
Yesterday, I shared my approach to learning–my grading policies. Yes, there was some confusion as kids spun it around in their heads, attempting to envision what the trail ahead may hold. But there was also some wonder in those eyes as they considered the possibilities of a path unemcumbered by the limited language of grades. In the end, really, their responses were what I expected, and I will use those responses going forward. I will provide clarity for their confusion. I will provide more possibilities for their wonder. I want this to be a transformational learning experience for all of us this year.
Tonight, I will get to pitch it to parents at open house, where I expect to encounter more confusion and wonder. The challenge, though, will be that I will only have a few minutes to introduce a foreign land and language. I will thus rely on the documents I have prepared to fill in the gaps. Importantly, I will also rely on my commitment to communication with parents, seeking to partner with them as best I can in the journey ahead. But, most importantly, I will rely on my mantra that speaks to how I do all that I do. I will let parents know that this is my current better, and as the year progresses, and I reflect and learn, I will seek to do better. Always better.
Along today’s trail we will…
…begin with Smiles and Frowns. Took a different angle with this yesterday. This, too, is foreign to the kids, so consequently, many don’t find value in it and “pass.” So, yesterday, coming off establishing roles, especially #2, I tried to add value by telling the kids that each time someone passes I die a little inside because of the missed opportunity to learn about him/her. I told them that Smiles and Frowns is not a cute way to start our day; it’s an intentional community-building activity. We’ll see if it’s any different today.
…continue considering character, community, and conflict with Seedfolks. Took the day off from this yesterday. The smoke is awful here in our neck of the woods, and it’s killing my throat. Hurts to talk and swallow, so I tried to limit my talking. Resume today out of necessity. Smoke and throat same. Time’s getting away.
…introduce routines. Roles yesterday. Routines today. This is my commitment to being more organized and disciplined in my approach this year.
…conduct “Twitterviews” for reading and writing stories. As introduced in our roles yesterday, #3 reader and #4 writer, the kids will do a lot of reading and writing; these are their “worker” roles. To begin, I want them to share their “stories” about each through an interview using a modified Twitter platform. One, it adds some novelty. Two, it challenges them to be concise with a 140 character limit.
…capture the day in or Journey Journals. I am learning, but am not surprised, that the kids are rather inexperienced at reflecting, so each day, I seek to up the game a bit. Right now, I want them to grasp that it’s not a summary of what we did, but a reaction to what we did. Trying to emphasize the “So What?” right now. We”ll get better.
And that’s our Wednesday. Hope I still have a voice at open house tonight. Looking forward to sharing our journey with parents tonight. Happy Wednesday, all.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.