Questions are CENTRAL!

5 12 2013

Inquiry_ProcessThe new Social Studies Curriculum illustrates the inquiry process with five elements linked together and shaped as cogs in a machine.  Central to the process is “Formulating Questions“.  It is literally at the centre of the diagram.  If we imagine any of these gears in motion, they would not move in isolation, but when one is turning, then they are all turning.

As I have worked my way through teaching and learning through inquiry, I had many questions about where to begin in a process with no clear beginning.  Now, I understand that Formulating Questions is not only illustrated as the centre point of the process… but it is literally central to the process.

Here’s how my understanding has evolved:

In our Grade 6 Social Studies unit (Canada and its Global Partners), my students have identified a rather extensive list of global issues.  They have each selected an issue that they are interested in finding out more about and have begun to formulate questions.  At this time, I introduced my students to three of the Disciplines of Thinking (Perspectives, Cause and Consequence and Interrelationships).  We discussed at length what each meant, and I asked students to formulate at least one question for each of these disciplines.  Their thinking was brilliant!  The things they wanted to learn was jaw-dropping!  Here are some of the questions that stand out:

  • Climate Change:
  • How do large companies/factories that produce pollution feel about climate change? (Perspectives)
  • What causes climate change? (Cause and Consequence)
  • Drug Trafficking:
  • Why do people get involved in trafficking drugs (Perspectives)
  • What will happen to the global economy if people stop selling drugs? (Cause and Consequence)
  • Weapon Trafficking:
  • How are governments trying to stop trafficking? (Perspectives)
  • How do different governments view the trafficking of weapons? (Perspectives)
  • What is the consequence if someone is caught trafficking weapons? (Cause and Consequence)
  • Nuclear Waste:
  • How do the workers who work with radioactive materials feel? (Perspectives)
  • How do different countries handle nuclear waste? (Perspectives)
  • What will happen if they keep burying nuclear waste? (Cause and Consequence)
  • What would happen if governments banned the use of nuclear materials? (Cause and Consequence)
  • Wars:
  • Why does Canada get involved in wars that are not their own? (Interrelatedness)
  • What are the causes of wars? (Cause and Consequence)
  • What are the effects on soldiers who return from wars? (Cause and Consequence)
  • Environment (Destruction of Coral Reefs):
  • What happens to fish when the coral reefs die? (Cause and Consequence)
  • How do the fishermen feel about coral reefs dying? (Perspectives)
  • What causes reefs to die? (Cause and Consequence)
  • How have people impacted coral reefs and their existence? (Interrelatedness)
  • Education:
  • How do parents in developing nations feel if their children can not go to school? (Perspectives)
  • What are the futures like for kids who don’t go to school? (Cause and Consequence)
  • Why can’t kids go to school? (Cause and Consequence)
  • Girl’s Rights
  • Why do some governments feel that girls should have less rights than boys? (Perspectives)
  • How would their lives be different if they had more rights? (Cause and Consequence)photo 1photo 2

I know!!! Jaw-dropping, right!  But this has only been a small part of my learning.  This week, we talked about how we can begin to find the answers to some of our questions.  We talked about the importance of using sources that are reliable, relevant, current and appropriate.  We talked about how to use key words to search for information and how to determine which ideas were the most important.  But here’s the part I didn’t expect to learn.  To you, it will of course seem obvious, but for me it was a huge ah-ha!  One of my students, who is inquiring about weapon trafficking, wanted to know if there were any nations whose governments were in favour of trafficking.  As he was searching, he was frustrated to discover that he could only find the preventative measures that governments take against the trafficking of weapons.  That’s when I said “Well, it’s an illegal activity.  It’s not like governments are going to advertise that they think it is okay.”.  We both had a giggle, and then I said, “Maybe you need to revisit your question so that it can better address the issue”.  AH-HA!!! THERE IT IS!! The reason that Formulating Questions is central to the inquiry process, is because it IS CENTRAL to the process!  As students begin by formulating questions, they can gather and organize information, analyze information, think critically about their findings and if necessary refine their question.  The learning depends on the questions, but the questions need to be directed by the learning.  As their understandings evolve, so will their understanding around what they actually want to find out.  The question is not a static thing, it is a cog in the machine of understanding.  As their thinking changes, so will the questions they ask.

So now, I feel like I understand the symbolism of the gears in the image… and the importance of the central cog of Formulating Questions!





Crash-and-Burn; Watch me Fail

24 11 2013

When I was 16 years old, I remember writing my 365 (Learner’s Permit) test.  We sat in single rows and completed a 50 question multiple choice test.  I waited anxiously as the examiner scored my test – manually.  As I hovered over her shoulder, I was elated to discover that I had indeed passed.  In fact, I had gotten every single question correct… every question except one.  To this day, I can’t tell you any of the other questions on the test, but I will always remember my mistake and the answer that I had failed to select.  (In case you’re curious, it was: What should you use to help you see when driving in dense fog- the answer of course being headlights on low.  I had selected Headlights on High – and learned that day that high-beams would only reflect off of the fog and would in essence inhibit your vision further).

Have you ever had a moment in your classroom when things are going so brilliantly, that you look into the hall hoping that someone else might just happen to pop in to observe this moment?  In my school, we have made it a habit of wondering through each other’s classes and feel completely comfortable saying to each other “Do you have a moment, you have to see what the kids are doing right now.”  In fact, we call it “worming” – the act of wondering through a colleagues’ classroom and checking out student learning.

Inquiry has pushed me to try new things.  Some times, I have been a part of amazing risk-taking as I’ve seen my students dig into rich learning. And, as a teacher-author-blogger, I tend to share these ‘successes’ willingly with others.  However, this is not one of those times.  This weekend, I have been reflecting on a crash-and-burn moment in my classroom.

Typically, I would not think twice about a lesson or activity that crashes-and-burns.  I would just shake it off and think “well, that didn’t go exactly like I thought.”, and I would re-think it for the following day.  I don’t think I have reflected on a failed lesson this much in a long time.  I don’t think I’ve ever shared publicly about a challenge or crash-and-burn failure, but the more I think about this, the more I think its important that I’m honest about my successes, as well as my challenges.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my students were well into their research about a famous Canadian and the impact they have had on a Global Issue.  Things were going so well, and my students were engaging in such rich research, dialogue and learning, that I was excited to share.  I had one of those ‘who’s in the hall that I can share this with’ moments!’.  That’s when I invited a colleague, researcher, fellow author, friend, someone who I admire and respect, to visit our class and see the learning-in-action; the grunt work in the inquiry-trenches.  Unfortunately, that’s when things went South… really fast.

Students had finished collaborating to become an ‘expert’ about a different Canadian, and we were completing a jig-saw activity (where each group would have an ‘expert’ to report back).  On paper, it was a brilliant plan:  Students would each share about their individual Canadians, and together as a group, they would identify similarities and trends; Through this discussion they would identify global issues that we could then use as a basis for further research.  Now, watch me fail:

  • There had been a long gap from the time, students had done the research, and now were to share it (life sometimes gets in the way  – in the form of field-trips and such).  I thought they needed a few minutes to review their research before sharing and invited them to do so. That is when I should have told them to select the three most important facts to share with their group… but I didn’t.
  • I had encouraged students to record their findings by taking notes, while this seemed a good idea at the time, when it came to sharing their research, they resorted to reading their notes to their group as others’ attempted to indiscriminately record the content.  Summarizing and note-taking mini-lessons would have been helpful!
  • I thought that a graphic organizer would help students record key information from others as they listened to the group ‘experts’ share back. This resulted in students attempting to copy down others’ research that they found it difficult to listen and think about what they were hearing. Identifying key ideas to listen for prior to sharing would have helped.
  • I wanted to ensure that everyone’s’ research was validated and they had sufficient time to share, this resulted in a sharing time that was way too long and students lost their focus. Again, sharing only key ideas would have alleviated this challenge.
  • I thought it would be possible for each table group to engage in their sharing simultaneously.  However,  the volume in the classroom exploded to inaudible levels making it impossible for students to hear each other’s ideas.

*phew*, That’s when I started to sweat.  Typically, I would think on my feet, intervene, re-invent, respond… but for some reason, I was paralysed; watching this activity fail and feeling powerless to turn it around.  As I watched my lesson crash-and-burn, I became more and more anxious.  In that moment, I felt as if I’d forgotten everything I ever knew about teaching and learning.

In the end, we somewhat recovered.  As a whole group, we were able to identify the issues that each Canadian was passionate about, and create a rather extensive list of global issues that we – as a class – would like to learn more about.  But it was by far, not my proudest moment.

Why such a pessimistic blog? I recognize that at times I will crash-and-burn in the classroom in order to find my way.  I’m okay with getting it wrong.  It’s through our mistakes that we will discover what truly works.  I feel like I’m teaching in the fog these days.  Things are not as clear for me as they usually are, and at times, my vision seems obscured.  Making mistakes is a part of the learning.  When I was 16, I learned through a mistake…. and I will always remember to use my low-beams in the fog… and as I work my way through inquiry teaching (and learning), I am prepared to learn many new things – sometimes through my successes…. but most likely through my mistakes.





Inquiry: Journey Into the Unknown

16 11 2013

As I continue to explore learning through the lens of inquiry, this week I was humbled and empowered through the contributions of my students.  This week, they left me thinking, questioning, and reflecting.  They truly are incredible ‘teachers’ in their own rights.

Our learning this week has centered on Social Studies and the unit: “Canada’s Trading Partners” (or Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community, 2013).  I honestly thought there could possibly be no dryer curriculum to cover.  Let me tell you how my thinking changed:

Following our Remembrance Day assembly, we returned to our classroom, all somber, grateful and incredibly reflective.  That was when we started our learning journey.  I posted the following three quotes around the classroom and asked the students to choose a quote that they thought was personally meaningful:

  • There is a potential that exists in each of us to make our voices heard and to make a difference on pressing social issues.” – Dr. Samantha Nutt
  • We are obligated to come to the assistance of those less fortunate than us, no matter where in the world they live.” – Ben Peterson
  • Since I was a little kid I’ve believed that I make a difference in the world, and that difference, I decided, had better be positive.”  Severn Cullis Suzuki

The students thoughtfully read each quote and then moved to stand beside the one they connected to the most.  Then the discussion began.  What do the quotes mean?  What do they mean to us?  What is happening in the world right now? The students were filled with a wealth of information: Reflecting on world history, current political situations and giving thought to  Typhoon Haiyan that had devastated the Philippines a few days earlier.

photoThen I added some facts about global issues to the discussion.  This time I invited students to read the facts and respond by writing questions they had on ‘stickies’ and posting them on the facts. Here are some of the facts I posted:

  • More than 30 wars are raging all over the world
  • 90% of the victims of war are women and children
  • 770 million people still can not read or write
  • 218 million children aged 5-17 work
  • There are over 300,000 child soldiers fighting in wars, many are 8 years old or younger
  • 115 million children are not in school
  • (* all quotes and facts were from the following video:  Youth Speak Out on Global Issues)

My students astounded me with their thoughtfulness, their genuine concern and their ability to apply what they already knew about global issues in order to generate questions.  The asked things like:

  • Why are women and children going to war?
  • Why do the children have to work? What kind of work do they do? Do they choose to work?
  • How do they learn if they can’t read or write?  How is it possible that almost 1/8 of the population of the world can not read or write?
  • If they are not in school, where are they? Are they all girls?
  • Where in the world is this happening? Why does this happen?

That’s when I decided to share the ‘personal narrative of my life’ with them.  I told them briefly about the reasons my family had decided to leave our country, Grenada.  I told them of the communist government we were facing, the limitations that were set on my father and his business, and the daily dangers that he faced.  I explained how my parents had worked diligently for two years to have a sponsor, a job and a place to live, thus acquiring enough ‘points’ to earn the privilege to become immigrants in Canada.  I told them of the adventures we faced when we finally left.  They were spellbound.  They listened intently.  They even groaned when the bell rang and they needed to go outside for recess.  That night, their homework was to ask their families about their own ‘personal narratives’.  How did they come to be in Canada?  How did we all come to be in this same place together?

There was nothing that could prepare me for the next day.  As my students gathered in small groups they began to tell the narratives of their lives.  I stood speechless as I listened to my students telling stories of war, of bravery, and of extreme selflessness.  Many of my students are first generation Canadians, and recalled their own memories as they entered Canada; others told stories of generations from the past.  I held my breath as one student told of his father’s need for political asylum as a freedom fighter and activist in another land; one student told of a time her mother was robbed at gunpoint; grandparents who were survivors of Auschwitz; brave young men who boarded boats unsure of their final destinations. Families moving for opportunities, education, employment, freedom.  Their stories were genuine, sincere and touching.  They moved me.  They moved us all.  There we were, all united in this classroom, here because our families had all wanted the same things: safety, opportunity, freedom.  The rights we take for granted as Canadians, suddenly seemed like privileges.

In the previous week, we had talked about ‘commodities’ and resources of Canada.  Can a person be a resource?  Can a person have an influence on a global issue?  As a class, we brainstormed a list of influential Canadians – and identified the prime area of influence (and whether they were a positive or negative influence).  I introduced students to five Canadians who have been influential in various ways:

…and then, unfortunately, the week came to an end.  They have left me thinking, reflecting and committing to dig deeper into the role Canada plays in the world.  My students’ stories have inspired me to appreciate the people who have come before us and the people who surround us.

I have left my students ‘discovering’ who these Canadians are and how they have impacted the world.  From this, I am hoping that we will identify global issues that my students can inquire further about: Child rights, Disaster relief, Health care in developing nations, research and development, and the environment.  But, I am hoping that they will not be limited to these issues.  I am confident that my students will be able to identify other global issues that they want to learn more about.

Why have I decided to take this route to learning?  I want my students to understand Canada’s role in the world, not only our economic partners but our role in global issues; issues like the environment,  relief aid and peacekeeping, health, education, equality, resources and energy and more that I’m sure my students will ‘discover’.   And within that, I want them to understand what they as citizens and civilians can do to play a part in the world.  While we may not be able to end world hunger, or bring peace to a warring nation, we can become environmentally responsible, we can contribute to relief efforts when there are natural disasters, we can take school supplies with us to share with communities in developing nations when we travel on vacations, we can collect items as donations for organizations that distribute resources to others, and there are countless other ways that we can be global citizens.  I am proud to be Canadian!  I am proud of the part our nation plays in most global issues.

Stay tuned, we all have a lot of learning to do – and I’m certain that my kids will teach me a whole lot more than I could ever dream of teaching them!  Inquiry is like a journey into the unknown… you never know where the questions your kids ask will take you.





Step by Step Guide to Ambiguity

1 11 2013

As I try desperately to wrap my head around the shift to inquiry based learning, I begrudgingly admit that I miss ‘close’ activities or multiple choice questions.  There was some security in knowing that I must have taught something ‘right’ because my students got it ‘right’.  I find the ambiguity that comes with the open-endedness of inquiry somewhat challenging.  I know that students need to explore and question, but I also know that I need to assess and evaluate… and the two seem incongruent.  And yet, the further I move into the inquiry stance, the more it just feels right.  I see kids engaged, I hear valuable conversations, I find myself eager to learn from their findings.  There is a buzz in my classroom like never before – certainly nothing that would have ever been brought about from a ‘close’ activity.

Inquiry_ProcessWhile I struggle to understand the ‘inquiry process’, I have come to believe that it is less of a ‘process’ and more of a stance. The term “process” indicates that there is a clear beginning, logical steps and a relatively predictable outcome.  Well, it seems that Inquiry has none of the above.  It can start with questioning and the students need to gather and analyse information; or it might start with evidence and students are asked to analyse it to draw conclusions; or they may apply the entire process (formulate questions, gather and organize, interpret and analyse, evaluate and draw conclusions, and communicate).  Even the image in the new Social Studies Curriculum portrays this as an interrelated set of elements – rather than a linear ‘process’ …and yet it is still called a ‘process’. But, it is much more of a “stance” – a way to view learning. A set of tools and approaches to learning that enables students to question, access information, analyze sources, think critically, synthesize their findings, and share their learning. It is way of approaching learning from a critical standpoint.  I’ve heard it explained it as “helping students know where to look, but not telling them what to see”.

All well and good… but, what does that look like in a classroom?  Where do we start….especially when we are embracing a ‘process’ with no clear beginning or end?

If you’re anything like me, a practical example or two would have helped me begin to see how I can make the shift to inquiry learning.  So, with humility and riddled with things I will most likely do differently, I’m willing to share one of my first full-fledged leaps into inquiry:

photo 61.  As a Grade 6 teacher we were well into our unit on Space.  At this point, we had already explored many sources, dabbled with inquiry through guided reading, and shared some pretty exciting stuff.  I thought it was a perfect time to see what the students still wanted to learn.  I placed chart papers in the centre of each group and asked students to write down questions they still had about Space.  Not surprisingly, they were full of thoughtful questions.

2.  I taped the charts around the classroom, and invited students to do a ‘gallery walk’; looking at the different questions and trying to identify common themes or “big ideas”.  During the class discussion that followed, we noticed that most of their questions fell into one of the following categories: Black Holes, Astronauts, Planets, Other Galaxies, and Stars.

photo 1 photo 2   3.  The next day, I put the five “big ideas” around the room, and asked the students to choose the one that they felt most interested in learning more about.  Each student then moved to that area of the classroom and as a group worked to generate specific questions they wanted to know more about. photo 5  As I watched the students working, I realized that they needed some guidance about formulating questions.  We paused briefly to discuss some criteria that would make a good question (1. Something you actually want to know [don’t know already], 2.  Something that is reasonable/realistic to find out, 3. A question that would give a “thick answer” [not a yes/no].)

4.  We took some time to evaluate our questions and highlighted key words that would be helpful when searching for our answers.  (Most of my students believe that when using Google, they should enter their ENTIRE question).  Hence, we had a chat about identifying key words.  At this time, I asked each student to select one question that they really wanted to know the answer to.

photo 4photo 35.  And then the research began.  I brought out the iPads and the kids began to search.  Previously this year we had already talked about the importance of evaluating the reliability of sources (and this continues to be an area of learning for all of us).  They searched. They talked.  They questioned, they searched some more.  They recorded their ideas.  They watched videos. They collaborated to find information for the other members of their group.  The information was flowing between students as kids found facts that answered different questions.  I guided.  I asked questions, I suggested key words to search, I helped rephrase questions, I viewed videos, I read articles alongside my students… we were all learning… and learning together.

6.  At last, some students started to synthesize their findings and begin to generate responses to their questions.  They had accessed different sources, evaluated the accuracy of the sources, considered the relevance of the information, made conclusions based on their findings, and were getting ready to communicate their learning.  Of course, they were not all able to find answers to their questions… in that case they shared the learning that did happen… some of it more interesting than the question they originally started with.

Ah ha!! The Inquiry “Process” at work.  I guess it’s as simple (and as complicated as that).

While I’ll never know if I taught it ‘right’ because they would all have different answers if there were such a thing as “the final ‘close’ task” and there is no multiple choice question that could possibly target the wide array of topics… I have a strange feeling that I’m on the right path.





My Shifting Perspective

4 10 2013

This year, I have moved from teaching Grade 3 to teaching Grade 6. That changes everything! These kids have strong opinions.. and they’re not afraid to let me know. The other day, we were taking a little “brain break” during a particularly challenging math class, so I plugged my phone into the speakers and pulled up my music play-list just to break up the tension with an impromptu dance party. Within a few minutes, a group of girls approached me to ask if I had any “good music”. Yes, indeed, these kids know what they like… and don’t.
The same is true when it comes to instruction. In the first few weeks, I was intentionally building my literacy routines.. establishing times for independent reading and writing; and creating intentional blocks of time for reading and writing instruction. One morning, I said “Today we’re going to start guided reading”. My kids audibly groaned. It was as if someone had sucked the air right out of our classroom. “What?” I asked, “You don’t like guided reading?”
“No” they replied, “It’s always the same”, “I don’t want to read in front of others”, “It’s boring!” they shared.
Oh no!!! How am I going to teach a group of kids – who are turned off of guided reading? The words of my favourite mentor David Booth returned to haunt me… I was in a similar position a few years ago, and he told me: “You’re doing it wrong! You need to stop teaching reading! These kids already know how to read, they need to learn how to use reading.”  The next day, as I pondered my guided reading lesson, it did seem rather flat, rather boring, rather monotonous.  Was it just me?  The more I looked at the text, the more mono-dimensional and flat it seemed.  Where was the student’s voice? Where was their choice? How can I use their knowledge and curiosity in order to engage them?  It seemed the perfect place to ‘play in the inquiry sandbox’.

The next day, I took a risk.  As I sat at the guided reading table with my group of kids – all slumped in their chairs – probably dreading our time together like I would a root canal, I removed my iPhone from my pocket and placed it on the table.  We started to read the text together.  We were learning about space, and I had selected a non-fiction piece.  After reading a small passage, about the moon (there is no wind on the moon therefore Neil Armstrong’s footprints will be there for a million years), I said, “I want to show you something”.  Now, I’m not pretending that I’m the first to pose the lunar-landing-conspiracy-theory, but at that moment, my kids thought I was a genius!  My students looked on with curiosity as I handed each of them my phone in order to examine the image of the flag (apparently) flying on the lunar surface. Neil%20Armstrong%20on%20the%20moon[1] “What does this mean?” they asked. “I don’t know”, I replied, “But sometimes it’s fun to ask questions that we don’t know the answers to”.

“Lets see if there’s a video” someone suggested.  “Good idea”.. and the inquiry began.  As we explored more and more, we found this video of Neil Armstrong hopping on the moon.  Did you catch it?  Did you catch the camera angle at 2:06 in the video?  I didn’t…. not until one of my kids asked the question “How is it possible that the camera panned up as the rocket took off of the moon?”

Huh!?! Let the questions begin… let the adventures begin!

In the next few days, I met with group after group for guided reading.  Always starting with a similar nonfiction text and then letting the kids questions lead the way.  I have learned more about space in the past week than I could begin to tell you!  We have watched the Challenger disaster, the trailer for the blockbuster movie Gravity.  They have asked, and we have searched.  We have learned that the heat shield on the space shuttle is strong enough to protect it from temperatures hotter than lava! We have seen the Endeavour dock with the  International Space Station.  And we have explored the role of the Cold War in the Space Race.guided reading

Every lesson was profoundly different – led by the kids interests, inquiries and findings.  It wasn’t so hard to make the shift – all it took was a willingness to let the kids lead the way.  Yesterday, students on the other side of the room were literally standing on their chairs trying to see what we were doing at the guided reading table.  Today, despite my best efforts to get them to stay focused on their own work, they continued to crowd around us – insisting that the “guiding reading table was the coolest place to be!”guided reading 2

Today, I asked the kids their opinion – yup, my Grade 6’s with strong opinions.  “What do you think about guided reading now?  It’s not too bad is it?”.

I was met with an “It’s AWESOME Miss!!!”

– well, I’ll take that… even if they think my music is not cool!






Virtual Parents in the Classroom

19 10 2012

Have you ever had someone watch you teach?  I mean stand there with a clip-board and observe your every move?  What if these observers were the parents of your students? Would that make you feel uncomfortable, or would you welcome them as eager participants in the learning process?

This year, I decided to invite the parents of my students to become “virtual flies-on-my-walls”.  I wondered what it would be like to involve the parents on a daily basis.

Realistically, we all have jobs (and lives), and the craziness of the everyday would prohibit such a thing. However, through social media, I have ventured into the unknown… inviting parents to share in our daily learning experiences.  And the result has been amazing!!

As a frequent user of Twitter, I highly value the instant connectivity that it provides.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could share this with our parents?  our kids?

Here’s how the journey began:

Long before my students even entered our classroom in September, I created a classroom Twitter handle… and started tweeting.  I posted pictures of the classroom before and after it had been set up.  In the early days of school I started to share the learning that was happening.  After a few weeks, there was a rich record of the things that we were doing on a daily basis in the form of our Twitter stream.  It was then that I invited parents to join us.  I invited them to become a virtual fly-on-the-walls of our classroom through Twitter.  By ‘following’ our classroom Twitter account, they could see what their kids were learning at the moment they were learning it.  We shared things like books we had read, math problems we had tackled, tools we were using and skills we were learning.  In our classroom, we established the role of  “Media Relations” and this student would tweet our learning for the day.

What did the parents think?  I would love to tell you that they are all avidly “following” our every move… but that would not be true.  However, I am celebrating that I now have more than 50% of my students’ parents following us on Twitter.  But the highlight of this experience so far has been the new partnerships that have formed between myself and my parent community.  As some parents joined Twitter, they sent me notes celebrating the fact that they had “ventured into the Twitterverse” for the first time in their lives. One had a moment of panic when they were ‘spammed’ for the first time.  Recently, one parent tweeted to us while were on a field trip, and another proudly commented on her son’s work…. but we are learning together.  All of us.  Students, parents and especially me.

Having virtual flies-on-the-walls has allowed us to all partner together to support our children with their learning.  We have ‘connected’ the dots between home and school… by being connected through social media.  We are joining our children in becoming risk-takers… all of us trying something new (and a little bit scary) for the first time together.  And for the most part, we are all loving it!

(For the parents who are not yet ‘following’ our Twitter stream, I occasionally print our activities so that they can stay abreast of our learning).

I am always amazed by my students… but this year, it is the parents who are amazing me the most.








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