Empty bowl... ting ting ting... Full bowl... splash splash splash....
I don't know if was the "empty/full" or the "dry/wet" or maybe even the "noisy/quiet" concept that Owen was discovering but I couldn't take my eyes off of him! I was so proud in that moment. He was discovering something new. Unsolicited exploration. Genuine curiosity. Ongoing investigation. Noticeable results. It was all happening right there with a 9month old and two dog dishes. I've always been a secondary education teacher so watching someone so little learn new things has blown my mind multiple times, but this one really got to me.
In that moment, I couldn't help but think about all the times as educators we have a plan in mind and lead students down our plan for learning (crawling races only....no dog dish played). I realized how many times, in my own classroom, I was afraid to let students choose their own path for learning standards and skills for fear of them learning incorrectly or not exploring all of the information I thought they needed to learn (i.e. I didn't want them to make a mess of water on the floor or put them at risk of getting hurt by the dog). And in this moment of the dog dish discovery, I was wondering what learning opportunities I had robbed my students of for not letting them explore the standards and skills in a way that felt meaningful to them.
As you enter into your week with students, I beg you... look at your agenda for the week. (No, seriously...go look at them. I'll wait.....)
As a student in your classroom who will be looking at those agendas, will I see a well laid-out plan that allows you (the teacher) to feel confident I am completing the tasks you want me to complete? or will I see some focused questions (aka "need to knows") identified to guide the week of learning with options for exploration to figure out my own responses/learning to those questions?
From the viewpoint of a parent, I want my child...your student... to learn the necessary standards and skills in your class, but I hope you find the confidence and mental strength to continue to keep that child-like, genuine love of learning & curiosity alive by supporting my child in having voice and choice in HOW they learn about these standards and skills.
Peace, love, and hands-on-learning,