This short TED talk by Ramsey Musallam, a High School Chemistry teacher, really speaks to the need to invoke creativity and curiousity with our students. It's not about using the technology to do so, but just get kids to ask questions, "the seeds of learning" Ramsey says. Times have changed and so to is the way we present the information our students need to obtain. No longer are educators required to be the sole provider of all the answers. Sometimes it's okay to say, "actually I don't have an answer to that one".
This is the prime time of the year to bring about a possible change in an educator's mindset as they begin to plan their year in the classroom. Ramsey came up with three of his own rules that he uses in planning lessons. These rules are simple and easy to live by, but most importantly they allow students to be engaged in their work. I think these rules can also be adopted to an admin position, because as leaders we must always remember if you are going to 'talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk'.
Rule #1 - Curiousity comes first
Rule #2 - Embrace the mess
Rule #3 - Practice reflection
3 - 2 - 1...Happy New Year!
Our first week of the new school year has come and gone. Students have been successfully passed on to their new classes and they can officially say, "I'm in Grade 2!". It is truly a Happy New Year and I believe many of the students feel the same way. Coming off a long hot 2 month summer, they are ready for some routine and structure in their day. I know I am.
It can often be a struggle during the first week, to find a ways to avoid the classic "How was your summer?" essay writing activity or another round of Primary Centres. Meanwhile the office is scrambling to find out where a few students ended up, when the extended vacations are coming to an end (sometimes not for another month), and registering new students.
To achieve a balance of providing a strong educational program right from the get go and ensuring our school organization doesn't have to be totally reconfigured, a series of workshops had been developed for the students. This is our 2nd year of September workshops at this school and the comments have been extremely positive by parents, teachers and staff members. Not only do the students have the opportunity to revisit some of their old classrooms, especially the smaller primary tables and chairs, but they are getting a refresher on topics such as Internet Safety, School Code of Conduct, how to work independently and in groups, and other expected school behaviours. The staff at the school also get a chance to meet all of the students and introduce themselves to any who are new to our community. It is a great way to start the year.
I put myself in the rotation schedule this year as it gave me a chance to meet all of the students again, although I had trouble remembering all 200 of their names. It gave me the chance to keep my finger on the pulse of teaching and if you are trying to establish an environment of collaboration amongst colleagues, you have to be on the front lines any chance you get - still remembering we are teachers first!
The Wordle that was created are the words, phrases and ideas that the students took away from the 9 different workshops during the first week.
I am the Principal at Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Vancouver, BC. I am passionate about inspiring others to be creative, curious and collaborative in their learning