Our first walk, we set a few expectations like focusing on our senses for observation, keeping up with the class, and leaving nature as we find it (or better!). Last week, having our inaugural walk under our belts, we tromped in the opposite direction with a focus of observation to put our "think like a scientist" skills to work. We stopped along the way to focus our senses and try to notice something new or interesting about our school setting. The observations shared were great observations, but I really felt like there was an overall lack of enthusiasm for the Wednesday Walk.
This week, after a reading of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, the focus for our walk struck me like Eva's ideas struck her: I wondered, "What if?" What if we took our Writer's Notebooks with us on our walk? After several minutes of an internal struggle about purpose of notebooks, control of what goes in the notebooks, and when the notebooks have been scheduled to go outside... I finally realized I was waaaaaay too concerned about this decision, so with Writer's Notebooks in tow, we began our walk today, pausing here and there and wondering, "What if?"
It was pure magic. The ideas were practically tangible, scattered everywhere like treat filled Easter eggs there for the taking. I watched in awe the imagination and wondering unleashed with a fury of pencils to notebooks. A few of my students who might typically struggle with ideas were so engaged in their creativity and excited to share their ideas.
I learned a few valuable lessons today. First, let go and let learning happen. I had to get over my control to let this magical moment occur. Second, there is time. It is so easy to become overwhelmed with all there is to do and let the clock be a driving force. No more! I will fiercely guard the Wednesday Walk time each week. The value in this experience has already become immeasurable and teacher and students alike can't wait for next week. Third, it's a good thing to stop and wonder, "What if?" Innovation, design, learning, and change are born out of wondering "What if?" My students wondered, "what if it rained doughnuts?" "What if that plane landed on the soccer field and our whole class got on board and went to Florida?" "What if there was a road right there [through the middle of the playground]?" Suddenly they saw a whole new world of possibilities and ideas.
What if we wondered "what if?" more often? What if I teach with transparency, sharing openly and honestly with my colleagues, building and world-wide? What if I challenge my students to see beyond the leaves of the trees, the mulch on the playground, the four walls of our classroom? I wonder what innovation, design, change, and learning will be born out of wondering "what if?" this year.
How do you wonder "what if?" with your students or about your teaching?