Today I had the opportunity to visit the Queens Paideia School for the second time this year. An instructor at the school, Tim Fredrick (a good friend and a great writer), had invited me earlier this year to check out the multi-age, open design in action. Within just a few minutes of being at the school again, I was reminded of how positive and pleasant the learning flows felt in the space. Along with time and space divisions typical of schools, such as small reading and writing groups and individual work cubicles, teachers and young learners moved to different areas through the open spaces around the school rooms in different allotments of time.
It’s a blustery, rainy…and sticky-warm July day. And yet, I am still about to embark on a walk…a blog walk.
Connected Learning Massive(ly) Open
On-(and Off-)line Collaboration
(See why it’s shortened?)
It’s basically a connected learning summer camp for educators. There are a series of Make Cycles that begin (and only begin, never end) each week through July, and educators can follow their own lines of inquiry while making, experimenting, writing, and connecting. As you can imagine, it has turned out to be a choose-your-own-adventure space bubbling with ideas, rich with potential, and a little overwhelming to try to take in in one gulp.
This brings us to the #clmooc Blog Hub, and my blog walk (inspired by Kevin Hodgson’s idea of the blog walk and the results Deanna Mascle found on the walk she took). Since it seems that our Make Cycle #3 is focused on game design, I am going to change the blog walk into a blog hunt—a hunt for ideas that spur my thinking…
First along my way, I’ve met Aaron Johannes who is a graphic facilitator. I had never heard of this, but it resonates with the work I had done with Matt Hall and Nick Sousanis—and more deeply, Nick’s work recently published as the book Unflattening—to share the critical role of creating visualizations of our thinking while/during/in the processes of inquiry. This is what Aaron does for groups—on the fly graphic representations of a conversation or strategic planning meeting. What a powerful layer of understanding that must bring! Continue reading Going on a Blog Hunt. #clmooc Marks the Spot.
Last month I had the pleasure of guest hosting the weekly #engchat on Twitter. Sixty minutes zoomed by as the tweets poured in in rapid succession. I knew I would need some distance and time to reflect on the wide range of ideas and extended multiple conversations that happened that night. After combing through the responses to just the first question of the night in the archives of the chat session, I realized that this would have to be a series of reflections. I am no Wonder Woman. So, without further ado, here is the first question and what I saw as a few of the salient points made in just the first 15 minutes of the evening’s chat. Continue reading Playfulness, Risk-Taking and the Developing Writer: #engchat Reflection Part I
I was in Duluth, Minnesota the week school was starting. I was standing out on the lighthouse pier on Lake Superior enjoying the summer evening air and the full moon reflecting on the water when an eight year-old girl walked up with her family. We hadn’t even greeted or nodded when she looked up to me with two things to announce: 1) This is the most beautiful thing ever! and 2) I am wearing school clothes! We just bought them!
The exclamation marks were definitely hers. Her excitement was contagious. And I couldn’t help but to begin to anticipate her first week of school. Would she have a mini-project to make the first morning to get her active and engaged? Would reading time be established early on with great selection, choice and time for interaction? Would she do the science fair or maybe even a language fair this year?
And then as she skipped off, my grin and optimism waned:
Would she fill in a lot of worksheets?
Would that first worksheet be an “All About Me” card complete with questions to try to get at whether reading is done at home or one or two outside interests that her teacher could bring up if she wasn’t engaged. That is if the teacher had the time to read and memorize which info went to which cherub face.