Dear Blake Families:
I hope that everyone enjoyed a restful three-day weekend, finding some well-deserved 'down time' after another full week. Our family enjoyed a nice weekend - soccer games, birthday parties, a couple of get-togethers with family, yard work, and some time just to relax and do nothing. The 'nothing time' has felt hard to work in, but it is necessary.
I want to once again thank the entire staff and community for helping to make this past week a meaningful one for our veterans, students, colleagues, and all our community. I was reminded once again how important it is to take the time as a community to make connections - as a school, in smaller groups, as individuals, with students, and with the community outside of the walls of Blake. The question we have focused on with our students this past week and the one we should continue to keep in mind each year - not only on Veterans Day, but throughout the year - is as follows: What can we do for our veterans so they never go unrecognized and underappreciated? Again, we can say thank you. At the assembly I shared a couple of times the sense of pride, humility, and honor I have in being a part of these endeavors - they are the results of a truly collective effort. I thank all of you for your help. And, a particular thank you once again to Deb Manning for her courage, thoughtfulness, openness, and willingness to share her father's and her own story with us. Thank you, Deb.
For your interest I have posted an article by Will Richardson, from The New York Times, entitled 'Three Starting Points for Thinking Differently About Learning' (located on the Articles tab of this blog). In this article Richardson highlights the impact that the Internet and the 'web' has had on teaching and learning: 'Today, there is no doubt that the Web has changed things more than most of us could have imagined way back at the turn of the century. Every day we have access to more information, more knowledge and more people. In many ways, I can't imagine there has been a more amazing time to learn. I also, however, can't imagine a more challenging time for schools.' Richardson shares that we, as schools, must adapt to meet this change: 'Over the next couple of decades, schools, like media, music, business, politics, and other industries with similar disruptions, will have to change.' For this change to occur, he suggests three 'starting points' for all of us to think differently as 'connected educators': Thin the Walls of Your Classroom; Talk to Strangers; Be Transparent. I found his suggestions to be succinct and coherent in nature, and I hope they help your thinking as well.
Taking this need 'to change' into account with our work with the veterans this week, I believe it is equally important to maintain traditions for our students and to make sure that we are keeping them 'connected' with history, on both a provincial and cosmopolitan level. We can approach Richardson's suggestions through the Internet and with the rapidly changing advances in technology. However, I believe our work with our students this week - sharing stories, connecting with veterans, and taking time to listen - were exemplars of three 'starting points' he suggests. As we examine our practices with our students, we should keep this balance in mind - recognizing the importance of change, and carrying forward our traditions to meet these changes.
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