Should observations “count”?

To have our first idea of things, we must see those things. To have an idea about a natural phenomenon, we must, first of all, observe it…All human knowledge is limited to working back from observed effects to their cause. (Claude Bernard, 1865)

If we make the observations with preconceived notions of what the truth is, if we believe we know the cause before we observe the effect, we will almost assuredly see what we want to see, which is not the same as seeing things clearly. (Gary Taubes, 2007)

Today, I am thinking about the power, value, and importance of observation. I am hoping that thinking “out loud” will help me clarify my ideas and stop them from flitting around like butterflies.

Observation is not new to education. In fact, it is a cornerstone of effective teaching and teachers have been doing it since teaching began. So, I don’t think recognizing observation as part of our work in schools is news to anyone. However, I think that accepting observation as an important indicator of learning, both formatively and summatively, is harder to accept. Maybe rephrasing my thinking as questions will help: Can observation of a learning experience “count” as an assessment event? Is observation enough to conclude that learning has occurred? Can we use observation evidence to report a summative grade?

Certain subjects seem to lend themselves to answering yes to these questions. If we are teachers of physical education, we depend on observation. We also seem to be comfortable assessing in this manner in industrial arts, drama, music…it seems that in certain subject areas, observation is deemed vital, and everyone accepts a teacher’s judgement as sound and reasonable. Teachers document their observations, certainly, but this is enough.

Certain grade levels also seem comfortable with observation as part of the documentation of learning. In Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, the play-based environment lends itself beautifully to observation. Pair this with strong invitations to learn and effective verbal engagement between teachers and students and you have recipe for growth and development.  No one questions whether or not the teacher has the “right” to observe and make instructional decisions as well as report learning to families. This is how early years educators assess.

So, my question is if physical education and drama teachers or Kindergarten teachers are able to use observation of learning as an assessment event, then why can’t a middle years math teacher? I ask this because I have been puzzling over the strong tendency to have students write their thinking down at every turn. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate strongly the importance of literacy and writing. It is critical that students learn to express themselves in a variety of ways, including through the written word. My concern is more that writing is the only way students are being invited to show their understanding in some subjects.

I can think of a couple of reasons why we might be reluctant to use observation of learning as assessment. First, I think it is because we want to have visible accountability for the decisions we are making about student grades. There may be a fear that if a parent questions a grade, we won’t be able to support our decision. This leads me to think that we might need to learn how to document learning or make learning visible. There is a ton of literature around these two topics. If we document learning as part of observation, and keep track of our observations during learning experiences, we will have plenty of “evidence” to support our decisions. In fact, I think the evidence will be stronger and certainly more compelling than a single math sheet would. Second, I wonder if we are afraid to trust our own professional judgement. Is it easier to fall back on math as a justification of a grade than it is to assert our training, education and experience with children and learning? The truth of the matter is we are always making professional judgements, even when we grade a math paper. It is just that those judgements are often masked by a score.

It is the responsibility of a teacher to teach, to assess, and to report learning. We need to become comfortable with ourselves as professionals. We need to trust our observations. Once we do, we are free to experiment with learning experiences. We can move beyond paper into a three dimensional world. Using observation regularly allows us to be highly responsive in our instruction. It allows us the freedom to walk alongside students as they construct meaning, engage in inquiry, experiment, take risks and experience. No longer would we have to think: Wow, you really understood that. I sure hope you do well on your test next week!

Just thinking out loud…

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Nuggets from ASCD 14

I have a travel blog and when I journeyed to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago to attend the ASCD Conference, I documented the trip on that blog. However, I cannot resist capturing some of the educational wisdom I gleaned from my time there on this blog. I guess I think of the two different blogs as the the physical journey (travel blog) and the journey in my mind (this blog).

My colleague and I started by attending a two-day pre-conference called “Engaging Educators with Data to Create the Future of Your School,” which was led by Victoria Bernhardt and her colleague Bradley. Here are the nuggets from that session:

  • The people you meet from around the world are one of the very best things about going to large conferences. I think it is important to take advantage of this networking because it really facilitates reflection about your own system when you listen to others.
  • It is very important to look at demographic, perceptual, system and academic data when making decisions. Too often, we focus on a single data set and limit our ability to determine root causes, influences and responses. (I know we have not looked at demographic data enough.)
  • “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln. This was a huge focus of this session- moving forward.
  • There is a huge difference between compliance and commitment in continuous improvement. Our assumptions determine which side we are on. Therefore, discussing the why behind decisions as well and inviting engagement in information from which decisions are made is a must. Superficial compliance is not transformative. (I concur wholeheartedly. Compliance without commitment signals we have not done a good enough job yet.)
  • When looking at data, jot your thinking and connection-making as you go. The “in the moment thinking” is rich. First, wonder, question and wonder some more. Then, synthesize. But don’t move ahead before taking time to notice. (This is tough. We always want to rush to solutions without letting the thinking, noticing and connection-making happen first. We are always in such a hurry. I teach this exact same lesson to students in my art class.)
  • Having a strong process is essential for examining data and making decisions. Without a process, everything falls apart. Think about successes, challenges, implications for a school or system and additional data needs. (No processes = chaos.)
  • When facilitating data analysis, control the misconceptions. Be ready to step in and clarify when needed. (This reminds me of the same discussion we have around inquiry. There is a time to let things happen and there is a time to step in. Knowing the difference is the sweet spot.)
  • A good first step is to inventory the data available to a school or system. Then “clean it up” or make it easy to read, triangulate and reflect on.
  • “Your school is perfectly designed to get the results you are getting.” (Reality check moment.)
  • “Avoid random acts of improvement.” Ensure work is targeted and focused. (This happens so much in education. Good intentions lost due to lack of strategic focus.)

Our first keynote was Daniel Pink. I had read his book, Drive just prior to attending and was looking forward to his wisdom. This is what I gleaned from his session:

  • Teaching is persuading. Not only that, but it is persuading children to do what we want them to do instead of what they think they would like to do. In other words, it is no easy task.
  • Education has changed because we have moved to a place where educators have information parity with students. It is no longer a case of telling students things they don’t know. Instead, we are persuading them to manipulate the knowledge we all hold in various ways. (I hadn’t thought of education in this way. I think this is an area where we feel some discomfort as educators right now. We are used to having the answers.)
  • Remember, small wins cascade to other small wins. Aim for small wins.
  • There are six ways to increase your chances of persuasion. Tip 1: You can increase your effectiveness by temporarily decreasing your feelings of power. This allows you to empathize, which has tremendous impact.
  • Tip 2: Ambiverts are the best persuaders. There are studies that show that the most persuasive people are those who are both extroverted and introverted. Either extreme has less persuasive ability.
  • Tip 3: Interrogative self-talk is the most effective way to ensure success. Instead of saying to yourself, “You can do this,” ask yourself, “Can you do this?” After a question like this, you are more likely to prepare.
  • Tip 4: Ask these questions of the other person- “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to…?” Follow up with, “Why didn’t you pick a lower number?” This way, the other person works to defend your position.
  • Tip 5: Context drives behaviours so make it easy for people to act. As Pink says, “Show people the off ramp and they will more likely take it.” Don’t worry so much about changing minds. Change behaviours first.
  • Tip 6: Explain why…even more than how.

Next up was Jay McTighe and Essential Questions. I have to explain that what I learned may have been different from others because we have been working on using essential questions in our division for years now. So, this is what struck me as particularly worth considering as a person who already knew a lot about EQs:

  • A good questions is like an itch – you want to scratch it. That is why finding the right question, whether students do it or teachers do it, is so important. (We have spent so much time on finding the “just right” question in our division. Once you find it, you know it but I think we under-estimate the brainstorming that has to happen before we find the compelling question.)
  • Essential questions require a defense. It is important that students understand that it isn’t just about the answer…it is about why that answer was given. (This is actually articulated on many of our rubrics.)
  • Essential questions should recur. They are part of larger understanding. (And they should recur authentically. Again, compliance or commitment?)
  • There are four categories of essential questions: Philosophical, Epistemological, Meaning Making and Metacognitive or Reflective.
  • Essential questions must be kid-friendly. They can be part of making this so!

The evening keynote was Sir Ken Robinson, who is funny and thought-provoking all in one! Here is what I learned from his session:

  • Life is chaos. It is a continual process of improvisation and anyone who claims otherwise is misrepresenting reality. As a result, few of us know where our life will head when we are in school. It is simply impossible. So, if we create our lives, do our school systems reflect this? Do schools invite this process for students? (And do we expect students to have made decisions too early? Are we giving them enough time and opportunity?)
  • In order for us to end up doing the things we are meant to do, we need to figure out what we are good at and look for opportunities to use that talent. To be “in your element” means doing something for which you have an aptitude and a spiritual energy (love). If you are in your element, others are drawn to you. The big thing is finding your element. How often does our school system overlook or marginalize the “elements” of our students? We have to help students find the things that they love!
  • The basics of education are not the core subjects…they are the four purposes (economic, cultural, social and personal).
  • There are two worlds that exist for every human – the larger world and a world of our private consciousness. Both are really important to the decisions we make.
  • Human beings are built with a tremendous capacity to be creative and think of alternatives. Creativity is not some special feature of a few select people. We have to foster creativity because all fields move forward by people contributing original ideas. What teachers pay attention to is what students think is important. If we give attention to creativity and innovation, so will students. (This makes me wonder what students think is important now? Being quiet? Handing in work? Getting stuff done? Behaviour is more important than learning?)
  • When students perceive there is one right answer to a problem, creativity and imagination shut down. Don’t let creativity be educated out of our children! (I loved the video he showed to demonstrate this. I even tried it with my art students and found that when they were allowed absolutely freedom, they were far more creative.)

My last session was with Grant Wiggins and John Kao, who were talking about innovation in education and specifically about their project: EdgeMaker. Here is what I learned:

  • We have still not arrived in education. Grant stated he has been engaged in education for a long time and we are still working on getting to where we need to for students. (Agreed.)
  • “…the idealism and passion of the young are one of the most underutilized resources on the planet.” This session communicated the belief that children are full and complete humans, capable of creativity, problem-solving and risk-taking. We no longer need to wait for students to get old so they can solve the world’s problems – we need to let them begin to solve them now, because they may, in fact, be the most capable of doing so. (This was a huge aha for me. Not because I didn’t know it but because, when stated so clearly, I realized we have some very huge assumptions in our society about children. I have said it before-kids are hugely tolerant of adults and our systems.)
  • Maybe it is time to facilitate and listen in different ways in the classroom. Maybe we need to re-position ourselves with students and the “wicked problems” they want to think about. Do adults really believe children can be innovative? Do we invite this nearly enough? We need to get students out of the bleachers and put them in the game!
  • We need to aim for self-sustaining student learning. If the teacher is solely responsible for sustaining learning, then the purpose for doing the learning is not nearly compelling enough. On top of this, when adults do all of the sustaining and then students move on to post-secondary, they are under-prepared to have executive control over their own learning. We have taught them to look to others for motivation.
  • We are living off our innovation inheritance. It is time to change this and one way is to let children innovate.
  • We also need to design units around wicked problems using essential questions. Let them be project-driven so the students can have executive control and the teacher can step back and let students think.

My colleague and I have already started to use many of the data pieces we learned in our pre-conference. It is so exciting to attend PD where the learning is immediately applicable. ASCD put on a fabulous conference and it was a privilege to attend.

 

 

Four surefire ways to improve learning

School is one big experiment of stimulus-response. We try things and measure the impact; try new things and measure the impact…until we get results that show learning. Many times, it seems like there are so many ingredients to consider, it can be overwhelming. I have been thinking about all the literature I have been reading, all the discussions within my PLN, all of my experiences inside schools and all the things I see and hear when working with adult learners. I have been wondering which things are the most powerful for learning; if I could distill it down to a few things, what would they be? I know what the literature says (See Hattie and Marzano’s work as examples – links below) but what have I seen? I think if we try these four things, we will see immediate growth:

  • Share criteria for successful learning with students – You can call this learning targets, outcomes, standards, rubrics…whichever, but the point is that every time you start a class or learning experience, be explicit about where you are going and how it will look, both as you travel and when you arrive at the destination. Share the criteria each and every time. Even better, co-construct it with students. No surprises, no fuzziness. Even if you are engaging in inquiry and the destination is a little looser, share the criteria for strong inquiry (the process).
  • Structure in daily feedback – Whether it is the students or you giving feedback, plan to do it every day for every student. If face-to-face isn’t an option, do it digitally, do it with peers, or ask for guests to offer feedback. If students can’t think about their thinking and their process, they can’t change it if it isn’t working. Also, consider that feedback isn’t advice or correction. Feedback focuses on those criteria in point number one and it invites further thinking and problem-solving. The most effective feedback can often be in the form of questions: Did this presentation have the impact you hoped it would? How can this paragraph more clearly reflect your thoughts? Why is this part unclear? How did you solve that problem? Did anything give you difficulty and what did you do? 
  • Equip students with the learning strategies they need to experience successful learning – I have blogged many times about learning strategies and how they are different from instructional strategies. I prefer the term “Habits of Mind.” Without explicit teaching and then practice in applying these strategies, students cannot grow. There is a difference in the mental processes of students experiencing success and those experiencing challenge. We have to build the repertoire of processes for all students so the processes can become independent habits. Things like activating prior knowledge, asking questions, organizing thoughts, conferring with others, identifying the main idea, and so on, are many of the reasons why communication works well for some and not for others. We cannot assume students know how to approach tasks, assessments and learning experiences. We have to help them get there. Looking at each learning experience critically and identifying all the places where challenge could be experienced helps us anticipate and prepare for support.
  • Make reflection part of everyone’s day – As I stated in my introduction, school is like a giant experiment. We DO things all the time in school, but if we don’t stop to consider the impact or results, we can often continue to repeat ineffective practices. Observation is key to experimentation; without it, we cannot make strong conclusions. So, as educators, we have to stop and observe. We can heighten the impact of this by involving students in this part of the learning cycle. They need to reflect daily, too. It is an unhealthy system that depends on one person to decide whether learning is rich for all people. Students should be able to discuss their progress as clearly as teachers. Of course, this point is tied directly to my points about criteria and feedback. They are all connected and all essential. They also all require a paradigm of continuous growth and reflection as opposed to an activity-assess-activity-assess model, where this is not often built in.

In the end, I think all of these speak to the idea that learning must start and end with students. They tell us how to teach and how to re-teach. They tell us what topics to focus on and the ways to do it to increase engagement. They tell us when we are going too fast and when we are going too slow. They tell us when they need support and when they need extra challenge. We just have to be willing to listen and watch.

Hattie’s article (2003):

lexiconic.net/pedagogy/RC2003_Hattie_TeachersMakeADifference_1_.pdf and http://www.

Marzano’s article (2001):

http://www.ntuaft.com/TISE/Research-Based%20Instructional%20Strategies/marzanos%209%20strategies.pdf

 

 

Creative Chaos

Wow, last night’s art class ensured I fell asleep before both my own children after we got home! It was a whirlwind of excitement and busy-ness, where everyone was exploring for the entire time, so I count that as success. However, I am finding the class make-up this time around requires a little more energy than past years. I have six students who are 4-7 years old and four who are 9-15. I have divided the class into these same groups for the next few weeks and I think that division was wise.

With the younger group, we embarked on an “experiment with colours.” We started with baking soda, vinegar, food colouring, eye droppers, trays and cups of water. We tried various proportions and combinations of the ingredients until we got interesting new colours with proper fizzes and pops of liquid floating in our trays. We then practiced cleaning up all on our own, which was an experiment in-and-of-itself. Nevertheless, we got there and we were ready to set out on our second adventure: Contemporary circles and colours! We used paper cups and acrylic paint to make circles in colours of their choosing (we spend a lot of time practicing sharing, compromise, turn-taking). We then used brushes to fill in details. We ended by making “Respect Monsters,” which was a project one of the students really wanted to do (they have been learning about respect at school and he wanted a monster for his desk. The others felt it was a great idea.) The students responded especially well to the idea of experimentation. We asked questions along the way and I prompted with, “I wonder..” statements to generate discussing and prediction-making.

circles

clean up

Explosions

The older crew set out on an entirely different adventure: Fashion design. This past summer, while in Northern England, we came across an art show by students which focused on fashion. I was enchanted with the creativity of their arts expressions and I knew I wanted to try this with my own students.

I started by visiting the local thrift store, purchasing a number of interesting clothing items. I then added needles, thread, embroidery thread, beads, ribbon and cloth swatches to the mix. While I got the younger group set up, the older group chose their clothing items and began to plan. They needed very little guidance. The class rolled out as an inquiry, with the students making choices about how to attach things, and doing some preliminary design drawings. Their only snag was learning that they needed to be taught how to finish a stitch. I gave them a mini-lesson and then they were on their way again. I am incredibly excited to see the final products.

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ePortfolios: Exploring our paradigms

There are times when things happen in the course of my work and I can see that they provide me the perfect opportunity to stop and reflect. Yesterday was a great example of this because my conviction that we need to continue to look at our system and what we do inside it was “refreshed.” The interesting thing is that one of the catalysts for reflection  came from two people who don’t work inside our profession at all!

Yesterday, I co-facilitated a professional development opportunity on ePortfolios for teachers. I shared leadership duties with two of my colleagues, both of whom are digital learning specialists in our division. As always, I came away from the experience having learned as much as everyone else there! My own learning started with the lead up and planning for the day and developed as we led others through inquiry-based activities.

At the last minute, we were able to invite and include two people from a community centre in a larger town in our school division. These participants were interested in digital portfolios and the opportunities they may present for sharing between their students, the centre and the school as well as a place where students who are experiencing multiple challenges in their lives could place things they were proud of, things that represented who they are and things that advance their learning. It was an exciting partnership and proved to be an extremely beneficial addition to the day.

Prior to the day, my co-facilitators and I met on three different occasions to plan, and most importantly, sort out our own and then a shared understanding of the potential of ePortfolios as well as our ultimate purposes for the day (planning with the end in mind!) I blogged earlier about my own realizations that emerged from one of our planning sessions (Digital Thinking: Why We Have to do Better). As we continued to meet, my understandings continued to grow, along with my conviction that thinking digitally opens up opportunities for different kinds of learning in new and exciting ways.

Here are some of the gems that emerged out of the day (for me, and hopefully, others):

  • Having people from outside the system join us for the day invited us to hold a mirror to our own practices, beliefs and assumptions. It was wonderful to watch and listen to two people share in the day and reflect on what they were seeing and hearing. It was also great to hear them make sense of digital oppotunities for youth who come to their centre looking for connection and support. I saw tremendous opportunity to partner with outside agencies in ways that emerge from the students, themselves. They were excited and hungry to learn and this was so wonderful!
  • As one of my colleagues said: “It is no longer about saving; it is about sharing.” How profound. This reflects how students function in their world. Sometimes I think our paradigms really get in the way of us seeing things as they are. ePortfolios invite us to have much needed discussion with students about why we share, who to share with, when to share and how to protect ourselves. Because sharing is no longer an option, we have to talk about the best ways to do this. His statement also speaks to authentic purpose – they ways we choose to share can provide students with purposes more authentic than “for marks.” The possibilities are limitless.
  • Digital portfolios offer us ways to assess that can be much more inclusive of process. It is not just about a product; it is about how we construct a product…how we get to the product (process). ePortfolios can allow us to see a much wider picture than one assessment event can sometimes provide. This means we can offer feedback in a more timely fashion, can engage in conversations with students anytime, from anywhere and really and truly see where students are stuck and where they are ready to fly. As my colleagues and I stated it: “Connect me to your thinking through your ePortfolio!”
  • We saw evidence of the much desired “flow” when we engaged in inquiry, using an ePortfolio to document or “capture” learning. Everyone in the group could make choices, like who they would confer with, how they would show what they were learning, and how to document thier overall understanding. The collaboration process was organic and natural – they worked with others when it made sense to do so and worked on their own when that was what they needed. We have done workshops like this several times and we see the same thing every time. This is how learning could be!
  • As a facilitator, I did not have answers to questions MULTIPLE times during the day. I tried my hardest to model being perfectly okay with this. It was really nice to say to participants, “I am not sure. Let’s try something. What do you think might work?” I would love all teachers to be comfortable with this aspect of inquiry. Learning alongside others is optimal for so many reasons (this would be a blog in and of itself.)
  • We talked about the idea of “letting go” of perfection. The conversation started with an assertion that doing ePortfolios with students in grades 1-3 is so time consuming – teachers have to do every step for students. What? When we got down to it, the reason for this was because we wanted the ePortfolios to look a certain way. In the end, we decided that ePortfolios give students the opportunity to be in charge of their own learning and be proud of what they have done. IT ISN’T ABOUT US…it’s about them!
  • We don’t have to choose between digital or traditional portfolios. We can use a blended approach. We need to be open to problem-solving and adapting to meet the needs of the moment. We talked a great deal about using photographs to capture learning that happened in non-digital ways.
  • Front-end pain (for set up) = long-term gain. It may seem like we are wasting so much time establishing ePortfolios but they can pay off tenfold afterward.
  • Lastly, we talked a great deal about literacy. A statement was made early in the day about how students who were really lacking literacy skills would not be able to do ePortfolios. By the end of the day, we were talking about KINDS of literacy. We talked about using listening, viewing, speaking and representing as building blocks for reading and writing. We talked about the power of images and how ePortfolios can build on and honour literacies students already possess so we can move forward. We looked at multiple apps to support this process. By the end of the day, we all understood how the paradigms we hold can prevent us from looking openly at tools and ways of communicating that may be powerful for students. This was a profound discussion.

I continue to marvel at the gift of these professional development days. We are not engaging PD that is outside of a context and lacking in applicability. We are trying very hard to invite learning in ways that are meaningful for those who are in the room. This leads to amzing insights!

 

Found materials as inspiration

Tonight, my Mom joined my art class. It was lovely to have her and her artistic help. The kids really dove into various media through a full inquiry process. The invitation was my materials box, filled with silk flowers, random miniatures, Popsicle sticks, feathers, and anything else I could pick up at Value Village. Add to that, packages of clay and exploration was on! The results were varied and wonderful. Mom helped me facilitate reflection with the students which helped them work their way toward balance and movement in their works. The students joined up at times and worked on their own at others. Overall, it felt like we played a lot tonight, which is never boring.

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Inquiry workshop: Yesterday’s post continued

Today I lived out yesterday’s predicted “day of learning and fun” at our Inquiry workshop. Our participants made it on terrible roads, which demonstrates the steadfast Saskatchewan spirit and commitment to learning held by teachers in the NESD. It was a great group, with teachers across grades and from many schools, which invited us all to push and mould our understanding to fit multiple scenarios. As suspected, the day was filled with gems.

Of course, our plan for the day was structured to invite the gems. We tried to provide some foundation to our learning about inquiry, but do it in a way that was experiential and inquiry-based, in and of itself. You have to feel inquiry to “get” inquiry. We asked participants to think of an activity they love and flesh out the characteristics of this activity. We shared our thinking on Google Docs (in fact our whole workshop was digital) and then examined these characteristics as they relate to inquiry and to motivation. We then talked about “flow” (when you become so involved in something that you lose track of time.) We learned to recognize this state of being in ourselves during the day. This is how we know when good inquiry learning is happening.

The rest of the day centred on practicing way to invite students to ask strong questions (we used the Question Focus Technique), to have students share their understanding as it develops (through Chalk Talk on Mindmeister) and how to effectively observe inquiry in order to adjust instruction and assess student learning “in the moment.” We read some literature (which I gathered from Twitter!) and worked on fleshing out some “proof-positive demonstrations of learning.” We explored some outcomes to decide what parts were negotiable and flexible and what parts weren’t. If the product was non-negotiable (panel presentation in ELA30) then the process was flexible and if the process was non-negotiable (analysis in social studies 9) then the product was flexible. Lastly, we engaged in a fishbowl, where two thirds of the participants had to create an informational text about inquiry using either Popplet or GoAnimate and the other third observed them. This led to some hearty discussions and sense-making.

What did I learn? What were my gems? I learned that observing without helping is hard; especially when it involves letting people struggle a little. I learned that the Zone of Proximal development varies from person to person and situation to situation…even with adults. I learned that I could actually observe flow, right in the workshop, and what a great thing to see. I received confirmation yet again that learning is richest when it emerges from experience. The less I talk, the better. I also confirmed that I love working with my two co-facilitators. Co-teaching is just better…more strengths to reach more people. I learned that coming up with QFocus statements for the Question Focus Technique is hard, it takes time and is so important to the overall purpose of provoking wonder. I learned that QFocus provocations for grade one students might be better if they were provocative images (provocative, as in provoking wonder). Finally, I learned that adults can play too…in fact, they want to play. This is why I know we need more play in our schools, even for the big kids. Play and learning go hand in hand.

Today was just what I knew it would be…a learning experience and a whole lot of fun.