I’m in the process of rearranging my classroom and taking it back to my Kindergarten roots–comfy areas, lots of hands on stuff (with magnifying glasses nearby) to fiddle with, engaging books all around and making sure there are caves, watering holes and campfire areas. I’ll post pics when finished, but I have spent QUITE a bit of time going through my 9 bookshelves and the memories of read-alouds have been an awesome experience.
Yesterday I re-discovered The Spyglass–not one I’ve ever used specifically with kids, but one I provided for them to read at will. The book description is: “There once was a king who ruled over a darkened kingdom. Crops were planted and then failed, houses were built and then neglected, people were impoverished and dispirited. But when a traveler arrives at the crumbling palace, he shows the monarch his kingdom through the lens of an enchanted spyglass — a spyglass that shows him his kingdom not as it is, but as it could be. The king’s imagination is ignited by the spark of faith, and with faith comes hope and change. By sharing his vision and inspiring his subjects to work alongside him, the king restores his land to glory.”
Last weekend I did an RSCON# keynote and while the title was “Who Directs the Learning?” the basic message was that we have to believe in kids and get them to believe in themselves to continue and persevere in the face of difficulty, frustration or lack of support. We have to help kids know what to do when they don’t know what to do, and make sure they believe in themselves so that they can direct their own learning.
I knew I was successful in connecting with at least one person when Steve Wheeler later blogged and restated part of what he had heard in my keynote–much more eloquently than I did, I think. He said, “The artistry of a good educator though is to continually engage students in learning, to inspire them to persist in their studies and to transfer their own personal passion to that student’s learning. The art of education is to draw out the very best from learners, to encourage them to excel at what interests them, and to instill this within them so they continue to do so for the rest of their time on this planet.”
What ties the book I mentioned and the presentation and Steve’s words together? The book is about faith–doing something and believing in it. The spyglass shows the world “not as it is, but as it could be,“ and the king’s actions inspire hope and change. Steve’s (@timbuckteeth) words give us our charge–what we so often attempt to do and what we should be doing as educators. My presentation speaks to those beliefs and shares specific examples of how I have worked to empower students to direct their own learning.
I believe we can revolutionize education.
I see this post as a companion piece to Steve Miranda’s (@reeducate) “How Do Revolutions Happen?” where he says, “The best we can do, I think, is to simply embrace a new way of thinking about school and live our lives according to a new paradigm. If enough people do that, the revolution will happen. That’s how the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution were born. That’s the only way that revolutions happen.”
In negotiating with my CIO to loan me specific technology so I could speak to the use of that specific technology in a November presentation I am doing, he responded, “I’m looking for how we can leverage what you do for the good of Albemarle County Public Schools.” My response? “Stick a camera in my room so I can turn it on and off and record the lessons.” We could then use those video vignettes to talk about HOW to change education–what structures are in place and need to be in place and the important parts and pieces of classroom practice that will, indeed help us, as Steve M. says, “embrace a new way of thinking about school and live our lives according to a new paradigm.”
I want educators to be able to see, envision and talk about school “as it could be”, so we can all say to each other, as the wise man did in The Spyglass, “you have seen what is possible. Now, go make it happen.”