Learning about learning.

This past week – and for every week moving forward – Andy has been going to his grandparents’ twice a week for a few hours. It’s given grandpa a chance to get used to having him around, and it’s given me a few hours to get back into the swing of working and studying.

Online courses
I’ve been taking the Ultimate Guide to Design Thinking course on Creative Classroom Academy and am currently developing a unit plan around the Grade 2 Social Studies curriculum of Global Communities. It’s so neat to think about units and lessons through the lens of design thinking, and I’m hoping to have a chance to implement this in the future!

Blogs, Sites and Social Media
I participated in the #tlap discussion this past Monday, and it was such a fruitful time of discussion around the Innovator’s Mindset (which also happens to be a book by George Couros). I’ve been sitting back from twitter chats for a little bit now, but was very glad to be engaged in this one. It also led me down a trail of websites, and now I’ve got some new reading material, including Angela Watson’s The Cornerstone and A.J. Juliani’s site.

Books
In a wonderful coincidence to #tlap, I’ve been reading Tony Wagner’s Creating Innovators. It’s really pushed me to think not only about creating an atmosphere that encourages inquiry in the classroom, but also about the way that I will be encouraging a mindset of innovation at home with Andy. Ironically, in an effort to be “more than just a print book”, the text uses the now defunct Microsoft tags to link to videos for a more in-depth look at content. Just goes to show you how quickly technology changes.

Podcasts
And of course, who can resist some good education podcasts. The newest ones I’m following are Cult of Pedagogy and the K-12 Greatest Hits produced by Bam Radio Network. I particularly liked K-12’s recent episode about Uncommon Makerspaces. Such an inspiration to see thinking spilling out into the hallways!

Last but not least, I’ve also really enjoyed engaging in conversation with a friend about the psychology of teaching and learning and what ed reform can and should look like. She’s challenged me to really work on articulating my teaching philosophy, so that’s something that I will also be fleshing out over the next little while.

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Inspiration

Kelvin and I got back from NYC a few hours ago. As good as it is to be back, I find myself missing it. I miss the convenience and the buzz (even late into the night). I miss the oodles of culture and quirkiness in every nook and cranny. I miss the transit system.

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But I think what I miss most of all is the way in which the city inspired me. It encouraged my creativity and it left me with a sense of wonder. Now don’t get me wrong – I love living in Kingston, and despite its small size, it is a wonderfully rich place to be. However, there’s something about New York that makes me dream just a little bit bigger. The few short days I was there, I wanted to capture everything I saw and sketch everything I encountered. I asked questions and posed solutions.

Now the big question is – how can I keep that curiosity up in Kingston? How can I continue to fuel this momentum and spark more ideas? Is the solution a daily regimen or maybe frequent conversations? I’m not quite sure. Either way, I know it’s something I don’t want to lose. And knowing that my imminent return to work comes on Monday, I hope this sticks around a little longer.