To help encourage conversations and dialogue about the learning that takes place and the wisdom that is gained through experiences, our topic/question(s) of the week are: What did you learn over vacation? What wisdom did you gain? New Experiences (Week of 2/25/18) (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.
Hopefully everyone is feeling rested and relaxed as we come back to school this week - as March is almost upon us, I am filled with hope that the days of spring are not too far away! We enjoyed a great week as we visited relatives in Los Angeles, enjoying our time with them while also visiting some sights - La Brea tar pits, Peterson Automotive Museum, lunch at Philippe's, a tour through LA and Hollywood, a night in Visalia after touring the Sequoia Orange Company and groves, hikes in the Hollywood hills, and seeing the stars on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard. It is not easy for me to unplug and take a week off from work, but it was really just what I, and we as a family, needed. We had a great time and have some good stories to tell - a sign of a good break, for sure.
by Melissa Greenwood in SmartBrief
Greenwood's post highlights Sir Ken Robinson's (@SirKenRobinson) keynote at FETC 2018, encouraging all of us that it is time to revolutionize education, encouraging a system that promotes 'diversity, creativity, and collaboration'. This is a brief post and is worth the read.
“A lot of people make an assumption that the real way to get things done is to lobby politicians and get them to change their mind about something, or to wait for the government to do something, and I don’t think we should do that,” Robinson said. “Cultural change is a complicated mixture of groundswell from the bottom combined with pressure on the top to change how things are done,” he added, noting that the groundswell already has begun.
“Kids have boundless resources, boundless energy, boundless creativity, and not just in elementary school,” he noted. “And so do teachers. The problem is that the system has been created to keep these things separate and discrete.”
“All of us live in two worlds, not one.” he explained. “There’s a world that exists whether or not you exist. It’s the world that was there before you were born, the world you came into, the world of other people, the history of events and circumstances. Part of the role of education is help[ing] people adjust, understand and relate to that world.” “There’s another world that exists only because you exist,” Robinson continued. “It’s the world that came into being when you did, and it’s the world that will be gone when you are gone. It’s the world of your private consciousness.” It is here Robinson sees new opportunities for education.
How To Value Wisdom Over Knowledge In Your Classroom
by Terry Heick in TeachThought
This brief post by Heick offers a definition for wisdom and 10 statements of affirmation in support of wisdom as one of four characteristics of a 'human' classroom: wisdom, inclusion, community, and innovation.
Wisdom is knowing what’s worth understanding, understanding the value of ideas, and always placing knowing in the context of not knowing– seeing the limits of knowledge and our own understanding.
Classrooms are–perhaps increasingly?–seen as academic places of data, points, and performance. As learning spaces and places, they are as characterized by numbers, levels, and alphanumeric characters as they are curiosity, dreams, innovation, or authentic understanding. In short, it just might be that we’ve put the processes, policies, and procedures before the human beings. And that includes both teachers (as anonymous managers of “learning cycles”) and students (as the evidence for our collective failures or success).
A challenge I find is taking the thoughts that come from reading posts, attending conferences, professional development, or reflection and generalizing them into day-to-day practice. Each formal break in routine (whether it be a vacation, a weekend, a snow day, or simply a scheduled change in schedule) has allowed me the opportunity to reflect, find some renewed energy, and rethink some premises towards change, wisdom as outlined in Heick's post, and the revolution espoused by Robinson. An ongoing aspect of my 'slowing it down' mantra/goal for this year will hopefully incorporate some natural breaks so that these thoughts can 'creep in' and hopefully internalize more naturally. As I have done before, I truly hope that everyone (staff, parents, students, my own family) can help me with this goal and hold me accountable by joining me as well. One way we can do this is to take some time early this week to acknowledge the learning that did take place over vacation and engaging our students and one another in that conversation.
I look forward to the work that lies ahead for all of us.
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