#CCIRA Day 2: Aha’s

How did I feel at the end of Day 2?  After another 11 hour day of learning . . .

Which picture?

I couldn’t decide so I had to include all three as my brain truly is full and there is more learning ahead.  My heart is happy because I need some space to think, write and share  in order to free up some brain space for Day 3!

Change is Necessary and Teachers Must Be Change Agents

Eric Sheninger led the final session, “Inspiring Students Bringing Awe Back to Learning” in which we looked at some of the changes in our lives/world and compared them to changes in schools.  Are our schools really preparing students who are ready for the rest of their lives?

So this hits me personally as I can remember a crank phone on the wall with a party line, a black and white TV and maybe three shows we watched during a week, and a wringer washer with separate rinse tubs that was used on “wash day”.  Yes, that old!

The change in phones is pretty obvious even though the picture makes them look similar in size.  So what has changed in education?  What looks the same?  What looks different? Think about that for a minute before you continue on!

The Teacher is Responsible for the Awe

“Awe is a huge component of life – it’s hardwired into our brains…Awe is a driving force for learning…However, traditional views and functions of school deprives many students from experiencing the joy and power of awe as a catalyst for meaningful learning.”     ~ Eric Sheninger, CCIRA18 program, p. 43

Not Technology, But the Teacher!

  • The teacher sets the conditions for learning.
  • The teacher sets up the environment for learning.
  • The teacher makes the decisions about next steps.
  • The teacher makes sure play is included.
  • The teacher facilitates the learning.
  • The teacher has a purpose in mind.
  • But the teacher has a mindset that allows the students to “wonder” outside the corners of the page.
  • And then the teacher steps back and the students do the work.
  • NO graphic organizers.
  • NO fill in the blank activities.
  • Real Reading.
  • Real purposes.
  • Real Writing.
  • Real purposes.
  • Talk required.
  • Thinking required.

Yesterday, I heard this over and over and over.

I heard it from Vicki Vinton as we, the teachers, did the reading work six minutes into the session (yes, six minutes in) that incorporated a different version of close reading, analysis, and interpretation that met the demands of the first six reading standards. Read. Talk. Read. Talk.  Read. Talk.  Constructing meaning.  Working together.  Building on each other’s ideas.  Revising our ideas.  Refining our thinking. No highlighting.  No three readings.

I heard it from Gravity Goldberg as she encouraged teachers to “do the work” and be their best source of “next steps”. Teachers’ best use of time is spent searching student work for the “awe and possibilities” that are NOT found online in any free, pretty, or even paid for resources. Use the time wisely in the best interests of your students!  You must trust your data, student work, for the next steps.

And I heard it from Kristi Mraz as she presented





and more research

(Link ) (and here PK)(and here)( and here – Best K design)

(and sneak peak at Kristi and Christine’s new book)

that clearly showed that play has longer term positive effects than “academic learning” at pre-school and primary ages!  Building play into the schedule is the teacher’s responsibility and it’s not, “PLAY, NOW!” in a demanding tone either.

This does fit with everything I know and believe about “students doing the work” in order to own the learning.  With frameworks like this . . .

  • Students do have MORE choice.
  • Students do have MORE voice.
  • Students do have MORE time to explore their own AWE.
  • Students do have more time to think and learn at deeper levels.

How do these classrooms look?

The classrooms are buzzing with learning, excitement, and student voices.  Walls include student work.  Students are able to access the materials they need.  Books are everywhere. Students aren’t vessels waiting for their brains to be filled like turning the tap on the water faucet pictured above.  Students are proposing topics and formats of their choices in ways that will demonstrate their learning. Students are invested in the work because they chose their own compelling work!

Learning MUST include Joy, Wonder, Relevancy, Engagement, Inspiration, Real-World Connections and AWE.

It begins with You, the teacher!

Screenshot 2018-02-10 at 4.59.43 AM

You are more important than any device!

You must know the WHY and then stay the course, check your data, and work in the best interests of ALL your children as every minute of every day is a precious learning resource.  The students’ future is literally in your hands!

If you are at #CCIRA18, what did you learn on Day 2?

How will your learning impact your work next week?

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