Constructing Communities of Paper & Building Communities of Learners

First graders at TPS are collaborating together to build a three-dimensional community in their classroom…and deepening their own classroom community in the process. Check out their brief story here on NAIS Inspiration Lab: http://inspirationlab.org/story/5324

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Why don’t we settle this over a game of Horsh?

So I know MOST of my posts are education related with a smattering of adventure. One of my other passions is college hoops. And since my NCAA Men’s Tournament bracket is so totally busted it’s laughable…I thought I would share one of the best 30 second basketball-themed commercial spots of all time to promote more laughter that’s not directed at my team.

SWISSSSSSSSS!

Big Ideas, Big Discussion

“Big ideas deserve and require big discussion…Let’s have the grit to NOT swallow a great-sounding idea without beating it up a bit, and let’s be thankful that we have the slack in our lives to be thoughtful educators.” – Grant Lichtman

The call for fostering children who are resilient and approach real-world challenges in their learning and in their lives with “grit” has been charging through the worlds of educational leadership, parenting, and child development. Read Does ‘Grit’ Need Deeper Discussion? by author Grant Lichtman, as well as the valuable resources linked within his post, for some additional thought-provoking fodder on the topic. His reflections remind us to pursue reflection, innovation, and reform – but not without doing the hard and important work of examining closely and inquisitively multiple perspectives.

Why do the little stories matter?

Our society tolerates gross unfairness every day. It tolerates misogyny, racism and the callous indifference to those born without privilege.

I think that most of us are programmed to process the little stories, the emotional ones, things that touch people we can connect to. When it requires charts and graphs and multi-year studies, it’s too easy to ignore.

We don’t change markets, or populations, we change people. One person at a time, at a human level. And often, that change comes from small acts that move us, not from grand pronouncements.

-Seth Godin

This one is for celebrating each second…

Every year the Banff Mountain Film Festival travels to a nearby theater for two nights of mountain-adventure themed films that always leave me creatively inspired, hungry for movement outdoors, and primed to soak up more of the marrow from my days. This short five-minute video shown last night is a particularly captivating narrative on taking hold of the moment, on refusing to let schedules and devices and to-do lists (though necessary and real parts of our worlds) pre-determine our levels of happiness and connection.

I refuse to believe that joy costs something.

Or that we have to get on a plane to find it.

Or that it has to happen on our vacation.

Or that dreams can’t come true on a Tuesday.

My heroes…are those who discover that inside we are all capable of surprising ourselves. –Brendan Leonard

Making School Look Like Real Life

Read this thoughtful blog post by educator & innovator Bo Adams who asks and begins to answer, “If school is supposed to prepare students for real life, then why doesn’t school look more like real life?”

Click here for a classroom teacher’s review of Tony Wagner’s book, Creating Innovators

*Improv Will Not Reduce Belly Fat

Read this brief piece by Tina Fey titled “Rules of Improvisation that Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat*”. As only Tina Fey can, she provides the perfect pairing of wit and wisdom and translates common rules of improvisation to real-life lessons. And, in all seriousness, what day of teaching young children doesn’t feel like a thorough exercise in improvisation? The sound bytes:

Rule 1: Say “Yes.” Respect what your partner has created.
Rule 2: Say “Yes, AND…” Don’t be afraid to contribute.
Rule 3: Make statements. Whatever the problem, be part of the solution.
Rule 4: There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

Not untimely reminders as we navigate a time of year peppered with unpredictable weather, schedules, children, families, and colleagues.