To help encourage conversations and dialogue about developing and fostering a love for learning, our topic/question for the dinner table is: If it were up to you, what would you choose to learn about this week? A Love For Learning (Week of 5/13/18) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Blake's Guiding Lights
Blake's Core Values: Respect, Responsibility, Resourcefulness, Reflection
Our Essential Question: How can we cultivate and curate the progression of student learning and growth?
Our Mission: Blake Middle School believes in a living mission statement, based on the concept that our community seeks and respects knowledge, integrity, character, wisdom, and the willingness to adapt to a continually evolving world.
I hope that this past weekend has been a nice one for everyone - down time is so important, and with the inherent 'craze' at this time of year, it feels more important than ever. Our Friday night and Saturday was full of sports for the kids, and we enjoyed a day together as a family on Sunday for Mother's Day.
- Monday evening I attended an event/talk on 'Why students of color struggle in school' with a particular focus on Higher Ed - it was very interesting and thought-provoking, with direct ties to the work we have begun to explore and discuss as a staff. It also underlined the importance of seeking out one's own learning.
- MCPE and PTO - I felt the generosity and collaborative spirit of our community Tuesday evening as MCPE funded grants from all levels in our schools, including five that directly benefit Blake students and staff. The PTO's Teacher Appreciation luncheon on Friday and the upcoming meeting this coming week provide more tangible opportunities to experience the support of our community. Oftentimes, learning needs support from others.
- Career Day - Our 8th graders had their annual Career Day experiences and it was wonderful to have our community members share their own learning and experiences with our students. Joe Kardouni's keynote highlighted some key points he has learned that help him to grow - see things through to completion; be open - you never know what is going to happen; be open to the next challenge; practice leads to 'automatic'; branch out and learn other languages and customs - it will enhance your perspectives and further your own learning; take initiative - 'I'd rather pick where I'm going'. Hearing stories from others help to ignite sparks in our own learning and it is something I would like to do more for our students and staff.
- #EdCampBlake - Our professional afternoon on Friday reflected the strengths of our staff - discussing and exploring an array of topics to further the learning of our students and community - genius hour for students, planning meaningful reading services for our students in 18-19, Standards Based Reporting, Project-Based Learning, self-care for educators, student-led conferences, world language proficency, Google Suite - the list goes on but we need to make sure that structures are in place and time is allotted to pursue learning and 'plant some more seeds'.
I came across this post this weekend at a time that felt serendipitous - I had been reflecting upon all of the challenges and overwhelming nature of teaching and our roles as educators, and to be honest, was starting to feel frustrated - How can we fit it all in? Can we fit it all in? Are we 'on target'? This post helped to center my thinking...
Learning Is a Learned Behavior. Here’s How to Get Better at It
by Ulrich Boser in Harvard Business Review
In this brief post Boser shares the 'good news' that we can all get better at learning - shifting the notion of innate/fixed intelligence. Within the post three strategies are shared: Organize your goals; Think about thinking; Reflect on your learning.
A growing body of research is making it clear that learners are made, not born. Through the deliberate use of practice and dedicated strategies to improve our ability to learn, we can all develop expertise faster and more effectively. In short, we can all get better at getting better.
Marcel Veenman has found that people who closely track their thinking will outscore others who have sky-high IQ levels when it comes to learning something new. His research suggests that in terms of developing mastery, focusing on how we understand is some 15 percentage points more important than innate intelligence.
The good news from all of this — for individuals and for companies looking to help their employees be their best — is that learning is a learned behavior. Being a quick study doesn’t mean you’re the smartest person in the room. It’s that you’ve learned how to learn. By deliberately organizing your learning goals, thinking about your thinking, and reflecting on your learning at opportune times, you can become a better study, too.
The research referenced by Boser reminded me of one of the 'big picture goals' we have - to foster a love of learning and to provide some tools so that this dedication to learning can grow. Striving towards our mission - and keeping the mission at the forefront of our thinking - will help us to focus our goals, think about thinking, and reflect. In so doing, the research shows that the process of learning can and will improve. And, I would be remiss if I did not mention my own mother this weekend, a true learner if there ever was one - with her voracious appetite for learning as she continues to read, take piano lessons, and share and explore ideas. She helped to instill this passion for learning and education in me and I am forever grateful.
I look forward to the work that lies ahead for all of us.
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