Continuing on our Journey into Independence and Inquiry

The journey continues on our quest for independence this school year. Now heading into our 5th week, the students are opening up to inquiry and enjoying the freedom to think. Although it’s a constant struggle because the kids want to lapse, and other teachers in their lives don’t allow them the space to inquire, I know it’s best for their learning.

I want them to be engaged. To learn best they need to engage and grow the connections in their brain so they can be the great persons they’re meant to be.

I enjoyed reading Pernille Rip’s posts on engagement. In one of them, she mentions:

The bottom line is; we have to believe in what we are doing and show that passion every single day, because if we don’t, we have no right asking students to.

She’s given me motivation to keep going, even when, by the end of today, I was ready to tear my hair out. Patience was definitely very thin.

To continue my motivation, I think back on some really nice moments of this week. We started the week by talking about learning. What is learning? The students had some thoughtful ideas:

  • Learning is finding out new things from everyone and everything
  • It never stops
  • It makes our brains grow
  • It’s something you do that makes things easier next time

After some guided discussion, students thought about why learning needed to be active. They said they do need to move around. They need to talk with each other.

We then moved into some brain science. They seemed interested and some already had ideas about how much of our brain we use. This video is a great one about the brain, which gives some basic ideas for students about how their brain works, and how learning does really grow our brains.

This is a nice one as well, which talks about a growth mindset. This is really what I’m getting at with my kids. I’m sad that a majority of them haven’t understood this up to this point but it’s never too late. Growth mindset.

So, we carry on with a lot of discussions about how we’re learning, why we’re learning and how they can be engaged. I think next we’ll think about how they personally learn best and ask about why they sometimes don’t seem to want to care.

As I plug forward, I’ll take the gems that arise throughout the week…

  • The student who was so excited by digging into writing this week he didn’t want to go to break.
  • A math inquiry that had another student on fire with the connections he was making.
  • Another student who wanted to go back to 4th grade because this was seeming like a lot harder year (I took this as a huge compliment coming from one of the kids who is really smart but doesn’t like to work at anything).

And keep plugging.

You’re in charge of your mind. You can help it grow by using it in the right way. Carol Dweck

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