Excitement for Learning.

It’s always exciting and fun to think about what our kids might become and create one day. I have this thought frequently while visiting a range of classes from kindergarten through eighth grade.

The human potential is fascinating. Fostering that excitement to learn and create is what teaching is about.

Here are some strategies that I’ve noted from my classroom visits:

Encouraging new learning, off-topic tangents, and risk-taking.

Modeling curiosity. Staying engaged in student’s work, questions, and creations. Be genuinely curious. Showing excitement to learn alongside your students.

Demonstrating enthusiasm for your content and the skills you teach. Help students see the value and connection to life outside of school.

Are you fostering that excitement to learn in your classroom?


Allowing students to lead.

When we let kids ask their own questions, solve their own problems, research and discover in ways that best suit them, we are creating the space for students to lead themselves. To explore, discover, and develop a love for learning.

Letting kids discover and allowing them to lead is difficult and ambiguous work.

The teachers and the students who are going to the edges of the unknown, creating space for students to become self-directed learners are leading us. They’re creating a culture of learning that is so important.

Quotes I’m pondering …

“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.” – Abigail Van Buren

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

“Time and patience are the strongest warriors.” – Leo Tolstoy

“Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.” – Simon Sinek

“A day’s work is your chance to do art, to create a gift, to do something that matters.” – Seth Godin

The Learning Lab Podcast

By doing this project, I am embracing the fear, ambiguity, and challenges of starting something like this. I am enjoying the excitement and energy of starting something that has the potential to make a positive impact. 

I haven’t shared this project with many, but every time I do, I am excited and interested in the feedback.

So, here it is – https://www.thelearninglab.live/podcast/

WHO’S IT FOR?

A podcast for students interested in career exploration – middle schoolers, high schoolers, or college students (even career changers) – and those that are simply curious about different careers, paths, and the work that people do.

WHAT’S IT FOR?

The podcast is for learning the inside scoop on various careers, but particularly learning about the work directly from someone who does the work today.  Plus, we discuss the learning processes involved and each person’s unique learning and career path.

Let’s get learning.

Share and/or subscribe on Apple podcasts.

Share and/or subscribe on Anchor.FM

Share and/or subscribe on Stitcher podcasts.

What are your questions?

I’m going to attempt to connect some dots here.

I love it when I see a classroom environment that promotes wonder, questioning, and discovery among students.  Check out Launch by AJ Juliani and John Spencer for more on this topic.  But, here’s a quote that really stuck with me: “Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is ask a question.”

I’m going to attempt to make a connection to a few assertions by Brene Brown, (Dare to Lead and Braving the Wilderness, among others) – that “Courage starts with showing up, and letting ourselves be seen.”

In the classroom, that courage can simply start with a question.  But, how many times do students literally fear asking a question, and being vulnerable in front of their peers? How often do we feel this way?

Borrowing another quote from Brene Brown: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” 

So, if we truly encourage an environment of “wonder and discovery” in schools and classrooms, we need the courage to be vulnerable and ask questions that lead to the innovation or transformation we seek. 

And, as one of my colleagues so poignantly put it, we need to say, “What are your questions?”

Go.

Flow state.

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The other day I was fortunate to surf some beautiful, fun waves right up the road from my home here in NJ.  Picture four foot, clean, steep, and fast breaking waves.  An offshore wind, holding the wave face open for a surfer to sneak a little tube (or cover up by the wave face).  I felt like I couldn’t stop surfing. My friends left after awhile. It just continued to stay fun.  Time slipped by.  I ended up surfing for four hours.  My brain wanted to keep going, but I had to go in for food, water, and to warm up. 

I had another experience recently where time literally slipped by.  Email and notifications were off.  I planned to work on a presentation for an hour.  Time slipped by.  I was in the flow.  Creating, writing, making.

Over an hour later, the phone rang. I had snapped out of it.  It was my scheduled call with a vendor for one of our programs. I quickly refocused my attention to the conversation and later continued on with my workday – never getting back to a flow state that day.

I thought of all of this the other day after a discussion with some educators.

How do we create the space for kids to get into a flow state?

To simply get into that state of productive work where time seems to slip away.  A space where they continue learning, reading, practicing, and making for an extended period of time, with little to no interruption. Owning their learning.

I don’t have an answer, this just a riff.

TheLearningLab.live

For years, students have had access to the Internet, social networks, and one-to-one device initiatives in school districts across the country and world. With this access comes a responsibility to engage students in their interests, career aspirations, local and global collaboration, and connect them with current practitioners and thought leaders. This is actually a component of the Future Ready Schools initiative in which schools and districts across the US are pledging to prepare their students to be future ready.

The LearningLab.live’s goal is to create a community of local (and even global) businesses and leaders, non-profits, and educators that will engage students in relevant, authentic, and timely project-based learning opportunities that need completion now. [Hence, the dot live].

The mission: To connect students, teachers, and schools with relevant and authentic project-based learning opportunities, amplified by coaching and collaboration. Now.

To learn more about TheLearningLab.live click here.

To sign up for a “beta” project for the 2018-19 school-year, go here.

By doing this project, I am embracing the fear, ambiguity, and challenges of starting something like this. I am enjoying the excitement and energy of starting something that has the potential to make a positive impact.