Have you ever had one of those days? You know what I mean, one of those days when you walk through the halls of your school and everywhere you turn there are great things happening? That was the kind of day I had today. Literally everywhere I went I was greeted with authentic learning experiences made available to students because of hard working teachers who are not afraid to take risks and best of all a generous act of kindness. Here are just a few things that I saw at school today:
1. 3rd grade students participating in a live videoconference with the Columbus Zoo. How is this authentic you may ask...well, the children are writing informational pieces about animals and so the teachers organized a webinar with researchers at the zoo to teach the kids about the importance of animal observation as a means of collecting information to include in their writing! Did I mention that they'll be writing in the style of Nicola Davies and will be Skyping with her tomorrow!!!
2. 4th grade students Skyping with Kate Messner, learning some ways that Kate plans her stories before she begins to write and how she revises. Why Kate Messner you may ask...well, because the children just finished reading her
book Marty McGuire for Global Read Aloud! This was followed up with an email from one of the 4th grade teachers who was frantically looking for copies of Kate's book Capture the Flag because the kids are begging to read it!
3. 1st grade students sitting on the floor with their arms around each other for a rather long time...this one stopped me in my tracks and gave me no choice but to stop in the classroom. Why were they doing this you may ask...well, because as they were composing a Tweet one of the students said, "Why is there an egg next to our name?" The teacher knew that it was time to stop putting off adding a profile picture to the class Twitter account (even though I've been telling her that for 2 months!).
4. And, the icing on the cake was the kindness. At lunch we ran out of chicken patties, one of our 5th graders was in tears because he really wanted the chicken patty he had ordered. Another 5th grader heard what was going on, gave the boy his chicken patty and happily accepted a ham sandwich instead! It doesn't get more authentic than this...choosing kindness!
What will tomorrow bring...who knows! But, what I do know is that teachers at my school have been inspired and empowered to seek authentic learning experiences for their students, to connect students to others outside of the confines of our school building and to embrace new ways to help students learn.
And don't forget the most important thing of all-kindness. Check out this short video by Amy Krouse Rosenthal about KINDNESS.
I hope my blog posts inspire risk taking and new ways of thinking. I hope to connect with other educators on our journey to always do what's best for children.