Preparing for Dinner photo credit: RSL IMAGES via photopin cc
After attending Edcamp Winnipeg and Denapalooza the last two Saturdays this past weekend felt rather… empty. No conferences. No Ed gatherings. It all felt rather empty to me. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt this way and was left craving more. I heard the rumblings as soon as Denapalooza ended. “When is the next meet up?” “What are we going to next?”.
This weekend was the tipping point. Instead of waiting for PD to presented to us a platter we have decided we would go ahead and help ourselves learn.
My good friend Taryn Deroche is organizing some PBL/Inquiry learning sessions for July/August. It all started innocently enough with a Tweet on Friday night asking who was interested in learning more about PBL/Inquiry. It quickly morphed and she had few people wanting to learn more. The planning wheels are turning and meetings are being planned.
I am starting a summer book club. I am not sure how many people will join or what we will be reading. All I know is that we will be learning and sharing a love reading and learning together! Location won’t be too much of a hinderance as we plan on meeting using Google Hangouts.
Why wait for Pd to come to us? Although there may be a few of us, I am sure the learning will be incredible and stick with us for a long time to come. If you are interested in joining us just let me or Taryn know and we’ll sign up! It should be a summer of great learning and sharing!
Shadows Trekking photo credit: manufrakass via photopin cc
‘If you genuinely want to learn. People will help you.” N.Bertram
As the school year is winding down and I am getting ready to wrap things up my mind has turned toward my journey through the past few years. Last week I had a long conversation with my brother around the idea of mentors. I have had an incredible first year teaching and would not have been able to have reached this point with amazing guides along the way. Although we work in very different professions my brother and I have both actively sought out mentors in our respective fields. People we can learn from and that can help us grow. In some cases our mentors have been our direct superiors. Some have been colleagues in our buildings and still others are people we have met at other stages of our lives. All of them have shaped who we have become and we are both indebted to these people who have helped us along our journeys.
They share their passion and help you ignite yours.
They share their knowledge and help you learn.
Provide a perspective you may have never considered.
They don’t judge but strive to give balanced advice.
Push your thinking and challenge your ideas.
Encourage you to consider your checks and balances before diving head first into risky situations.
Provide wisdom and insight when you feel lost.
~ I am thankful for each and every mentor in my life. I look forward to learning and growing more as the years progress. ~
For the past week or two my students have been busily building robots in their French class. I have been eagerly anticipating the completion of their robots as I have created a math unit to connect with our shape and space section of the grade 4 math curriculum.
I was told today would be the day they would be ready. So when I got into my classroom after lunch excited to get our math unit underway I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I quickly popped out and asked the French teacher if they could finish them in class with me. With the green light I said to my students ‘Gather your stuff. Time to finish your robots’.
My class eagerly got everything together and as things got underway they asked me to plug-in the hot glue gun. They patiently waited for the glue to heat up and I wondered why they weren’t glueing away. I asked them if they knew how to use it. They answered they did because they had seen it being used but weren’t given the opportunity to use it themselves but instead just gave instructions what to glue where. I got up demonstrated how to use it (just in case a few hadn’t paid close attention to the process before) and showed them the proper way to use it.
Once the demonstration was over I said ‘Go ahead glue your stuff on. You will quickly learn how to use the glue gun and avoid getting your fingers burned. Don’t worry try it out. I’ll be here if you need help.’
Stunned they looked at me and asked if I was sure.
When they saw I was dead serious and would be right there for the first little bit the first few started glueing away.
Of course a few had to try out how hot the glue was. But once they realized it really wasn’t that fascinating they focused on perfecting their creations.
No one failed. All succeeded.
Sometimes all you need is permission to fail in order to succeed. It takes trust on both sides, a bit of space and a net to catch you if you fall.
-Sidenote: I am happy to have robots for tomorrows math class. Let the math madness begin! -
Humanity, Love, Respect photo credit: B.S. Wise via photopin cc
If you want to see your students be curious and embrace learning do so yourself. If you want your students to be fearless and to take risks in their pursuit of knowledge do so yourself. Share your passion for learning. My students know that I am always reading and trying out new things my classroom.
If you want a community. Create and show it. It is as simple as saying hello and asking how someones day is going to show that you value community. We talk as a class everyday before school starts. It is our community meeting to show that we care about each other. A time where anything can be brought to the table and shared with each other.
If you want innovation and ingenuity show them that you are willing to tweak things to make them better. Allow opportunities to try new things and get creative.
If you value reading and want your students to be readers and writers share what you are reading and writing with your class. I often share what I am reading and why I am reading it. The purpose is often different but they know reading is a part of my life. They also know that I blog and that it isn’t easy for me to get my thoughts on ‘paper’ but it again it is a part of my life and makes me a better teacher.
If you want to see joy and happiness take pleasure in what you do, pursue and share your passions.
If you want to see kindess and respect show them in every action you take. Be equitable, show integrity, be kind, be gracious and be humble.
Earlier this week entered the classroom after lunch clearly excited and inspired by an idea. Once she was given the go ahead she busily started working on her idea. After she had finished she handed me the note above entitled ”Why Ms. Bertram is Important”. As I read through it I teared up when I came to the lines ‘You are nice and kind. You are helpful and you show respect.’ The core of my classroom management has always been Respect and Kindness. We spent the first few months of school discussing why these are so important to our community. I model it everyday for my students in every action I take. Those two lines showed me that they see it. They get it. And that makes me proud.