Thursday, October 28, 2010

I didn't expect to dance

It was the beginning of my smorgasbord of professional learning day. October 22. The day teachers across the province thought and learned together. I wanted to sit in on some of the collaborative working sessions that were happening in our district. My first stop: "Primarily Primary Science Creative Activities." And we warmed up by dancing! A student teacher put us through some moves - the shirt, the bow and arrow, and my favourite - the fist pumps at the beginning of "tonight's going to be good night." The music and movement made us all smile. And I thought - lucky students who will benefit from this young woman's talent. And lucky us to learn from her.

Then we talked science. I learned how these amazing teachers used science exploration with their primary students, how they included family, how they fostered independence, how they deepened scientific understanding and shared the language of science. I looked at grade one science journals with carefully labelled drawings, even down to H20 for the water in a beaker! (I'll get to work on a science page soon to post some of these ideas on our Working Together Wiki.)

I spent much longer drinking up the knowledge and passion for teaching, for science and for learning than I had intended. I left reluctantly and only because I was keen to get to my next stop: the librarians. The conversation, wide-ranging and in high gear when I arrived, tackled 21st century libraries - kindles, multi-tasking and the brain, etiquette in a new age, streaming video, databases and the age-old question: how do we get the best resources in the hands of the most people at the right time? Immersed in conversation, time flew and when I looked up again, the day was done.

I had thought I'd get a chance to sit in with the group sharing strategies for diverse learners and drop by the SmartBoard session and maybe even sneak in to learn some ideas from the group discussing powerful tools for behaviour management and, if I was lucky, to finish the day with the group thinking about assessment in music. So many excellent choices. This district, the province, was humming with learning!

Lately, it seems, we hear so much about what teachers aren't doing right and how to "fix" them. I am simply in awe of how much, despite difficult conditions, teachers are doing so very very right!

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