To help encourage conversations and dialogue about the ways that curiosity and imagination help us learn, our topic/question for the dinner table is: How can curiosity and imagination help you to learn and change? Curiosity, Imagination, and Change (Week of 11/25/18) (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.
Our Thanksgiving weekend was a wonderful respite, with some family time (both nuclear and extended), downtime, going to the Celtics-Knicks game, Holliston’s holiday stroll, and the official beginning of winter sports with Owen’s basketball tournament in Natick. Now that I am writing all of this down, I realize that it sounds much busier than it was!
One of my goals this weekend was to intentionally unplug and take a break from school, trying to practice the ‘no homework weekend’ for me and my family - I think that is one of the reasons it felt ‘less busy’, despite all of the activities noted above! However, I do want to share two quick reflections that synthesized for me on one of my runs…
First - thinking about last Wednesday...
Over the weekend it was fun to look through pictures from our Celebration of Voice assembly (#bmsed Celebration of Voice 2018), as we gathered together as a community to share our thanks, enjoy performances, celebrate, and have some fun. I believe this assembly is a hallmark of our mission and embodies these tenets...
- Every individual at Blake (students, staff, parents, and the greater community) matters, is cared for, and is an important piece of the Blake fabric.
- We are a community of learners who must 'practice what we preach'.
- We must always be present and continue to be here for one another.
On our way into the Celtics game the night before Thanksgiving, our family reminisced about our trip to Disney World four years ago as a family. We took the trip over the Thanksgiving holiday and had such a good time talking through our favorite memories - feeling very grateful for the time we had and the fortunes we certainly have as a family. The wonderment of that trip was, and forgive the oft-used phrase associated with ‘all things Disney’, truly magical.
Topic/Question (Week of 11/18/18): What are you thankful for this year?
- Perspective, and having a great summer last summer
- I am thankful for being here on the planet and enjoying LIFE!
- My Animals and Family
- I am thankful for the laughter of my students!
- Everything I have
- I am thankful for school, Medfield, and my family and friends
- Food, shelter, family
- Family, friends, pets, clean water, shelter, and sports
- My family, my health, my co -workers, and the students
- My life, technology, student council, my friends, families and people who care about others
- Having the luxury/privilege to be able to give to others this season. It's humbling to know how much I have while others have so little.
- My home and good schools
- I am thankful for advancements in medicine and technology in our lives that other countries don’t have
- My family, friends, shelter, heat, food, and extras
Adapting An Imagine-It-Forward Mindset
by MaryLee Sachs (@maryleesachs) in Forbes
This post references Beth Comstock (former Vice Chair of GE) and her book, Imagine It Forward - Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change - it is aimed towards a ‘business audience’, but the ‘imagine it forward’ mindset is one that certainly applies to our students.
Comstock talks a lot about permission, giving yourself the permission to take ownership and create waves. “People who effect radical change have to exhibit an uncompromising faith in experimentation, a bias for novelty and action, and a sense that disruption is something you cause, not observe.” She uses “the term ‘fog flyer’ to describe … navigating ambiguity”, a trait that is becoming increasingly important for all members of the C-suite.
Many of Comstock’s nuggets of wisdom stem from experiences and collaborations in Silicon Valley: “What I learned about Silicon Valley is that its success does not arise from the genius of a few individuals but from a connected collective that integrates technologies, funding, and ideas from across the spectrum. That requires resisting the pull of rigid hierarchical order and capitalizing on the collective, chaotic, self-governing intelligence of groups and networks.”
The Most Important Skill at the Office Isn't Being Taught in School
In one of his more recent posts (Where Curiosity Will Lead Education), Geroge Couros (@gcouros) referenced this article, along with Will Richardson’s (@willrich45) posts about the importance of Curiosity. Several strategies and benefits are listed within, such as developing interests outside of work, continuing to learn, being mindful, and broadening one’s network.
Behavioral scientists have found that it’s one of the most valuable attributes in the workplace. Yet, curiosity often is not fostered in schools, especially those driven by test-based performance standards, said Andrew Minigan of The Right Question Institute in Education Week. Businesses don’t always encourage it in employees, either, even though curiosity is one of the signs that you’re doing better at work than you think.
Being curious means stepping out of your comfort zone for a lot of people, Koraca said. So, it’s important to take small steps.
Looking ahead to the very busy stretch before our holiday break, one of my intentions is to #slowitdown and build in time at work and home for more curiosity and imagination. In the post referened above by MaryLee Sachs, she shares two quotations from Beth Comstock’s book about uncertainty...
The pace of change is never going to be slower than it is today. - Beth Comstock
To be innovative you have to learn to be comfortable with some level of ‘maybe’. - Beth Comstock
Embracing this uncertainty with imagination and curiosity will help our students and one another to learn, change, and adapt with an eye towards our mission.
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Enjoy the week and take care.