Once upon a time, in an enchanted__________(forest, pond, stream, house, castle,garden…) lived a little______________(prince, princess, horse, pony, goat, duck…?) and this little_______________decided to join everyone around the _____________? campfire! Because campfires are good places to share stories and hot chocolate. And stories and cold juice. And stories and popcorn.
The night was clear. The moon was bright. Everyone was pleased to take part in the ? making of a brand new KITE! And so the ________________ joined in and discovered______________________________????
Reading involves a full body practice- peek into a kindergarten room and observe the need for movement; some of us continue to need that opportunity to use our bodies in motion while the learning process grows- yet – we have a strong image impacted of reading and writing practice being a solitary studious pursuit. If you have the time, and inclination, rummage through a children’s section at the library or the bookstore or within your own home collection. And see if you can really sit still or if at times the words on the page conjure up images that make you not only truly laugh out loud, but also seem to get you swaying to the rhythm – words on the page leaping and colliding and having fun.
Learning- of anything- is a time consuming series of repetitions and practices until a learner feels a smidgen of control, slowly leading to mastery. And which some remain determined may have less to do with “grit” or “mindset” and more to do with circumstances and options. If however, we, as educators wish to open up a few doors or at least a window into what various aspects of learning may offer, then we will be needing to demonstrate how and why skills are building blocks for movement forward. Direct communication – making time for this – becomes essential, so instead of lamenting the fast pace and disconnect of modern times, or extolling the virtues of technology and flipped classrooms, let’s remember that if we present testing or reviews in a positive frame, then the likelihood of students responding in a positive manner improves.
Personalities- we each have one- and we no more wish to be lumped into a “type” then do the students in a learning environment. That is “mindset” in a nutshell; the suggestion that people may be allowed to think outside the box requires people not to be boxed in or restricted by academic labels- a label may allow for clearer organization within an institution, but at times denies the learner the very thing education is meant to encourage- growth and change. Movement: across disciplines, within communities, throughout a learning system, demands numerous skill sets including the ability to fill in the blanks, to extend the story, to make it one’s own, to develop, to grow and to become.
…And so they lived…which always struck me as suggestive of more to come…
Standing desks, musical chairs, reading buddies, writing conferences, on and off line; shake it up, and find the mix that works best in your student’s frame.