powerful moments in education
That is where transformation is going to happen in education, if we do it with an open mind, diving in fully clothed, shoes on.
When students understand that their roles are both as independent and collaborative learners, and teachers become learning facilitators, this is when the joy returns for all. From the center of the room today, I sat and observed for a moment, deciding which group of learners to join first. A student next to me was maneuvering StoryBird, proving in fact she CAN sequence an original story with the visual help. On the other side of me, a boy was stuck with where to start on his piece exploring the thrill of being a champion Little League team. While responding to a book groups posts on Edmodo I mention to him, “What did our mentor sports writer Dan Shaugnessy do in the article you and I studied yesterday? He started with….Imagine….” “OH! Imagine you are-,” he says, “I get it now.” And the pen goes frantic.
In another corner, a trio is reading Savvy, a group method clearly in place to keep everyone together, knowing when it is his or her turn to read. Streams of thinking stems, ala Tanny McGregor, float to my ears- proof that teaching children critical communication language leads to independent, productive literature discussions.
A partnership continues their quest for a “How-to” writing piece based on a book of catapults and the like and when I asked if they were simply copying the materials list and adding a picture they responded, “Oh, no, we are including a QR code from Chirbit linked to video showing the steps.”
Oh. Of course. Sorry I asked.
Two boys reading Shiloh had just finished the book- one, a somewhat reluctant reader and the other simply needs time to process his thoughts, to make inferences, and benefits from a partner to keep the storyline in check. Their conversation on Edmodo is among the liveliest of them all, a display of ability I was thrilled to observe for these readers.
What am I doing? My eyes and ears carefully travel around the room; I am equipped with a copy of each of their books, my iPad, and a pencil, ready to join any group at any time. I am observing, at the end of 2 years, the fruits of not only my instruction, but facilitation of independence and the joy of learning that should always be present. It makes me think of a Proverb: “Train a child in the way to go so when he is old he will not depart.” (or something along those lines). Create the path, facilitate the journey, and ask really really good questions.
This is the practice of facilitating-the practice of change agents.