One of the many things I love about my job is that learning is at the heart of the work. Every day I am invited to learn from people, experiences, research, and curriculum subject areas.
We have been having a blast this year learning like an astronaut. In the fall, I launched a program designed to engage the whole school in exploring 21st Century learning skills. We called it “Learning like an Astronaut.” For one school year we are trying to answer this question: “If we were going to learn like an astronaut, what would we need to do?”
We want children to thrive when they go to school. We want safe schools, places where students have a high sense of belonging, and a community that values its members. To me a positive school climate looks like peaceful hallways, engaging classroom learning, and robust spirit. Joy is at the heart of a great school. Community can be assessed by the smiles and laughter heard by students, parents, and staff. I try to find a moment of joy at least once a day.
Learning is a process with two key phases: action and reflection.
We have an experience, we reflect on the experience, we expand our understanding by making new connections, and then we act, trying something new with the learning. Teachers describe this as instruction and assessment. Instruction is the action, the doing, the experience. Assessment is reflecting on the impact of the learning on the self or the student.
It is September. At recess four primary students use giant sidewalk chalk. They rub it on the brick window ledge over and over in the same spot so chalk dust accumulates. When they have a small pile of dust, they stop.