Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Time Change: So What’s New?

My first task Monday morning was to set the school bell system clock to the new time. It reminded me that much of what happens in a school setting follows a predictable rhythm. Bus/car trips to and from school, class schedules, outdoor recess, devotions & prayer are examples of things that give predictability to our life here at LCES. I think that students (and adults) actually appreciate routine in a good part of their life, with a portion of spontaneity liberally mixed in. A presenter I heard once proposed that without routines, or as he called them - habits, every decision all day long would be processed as if we had never faced it before. Sounds exhausting!

We find ourselves at LCES in that delicate balance of managing routine and new things all the time. Structure and habits cease to become valuable to us when we too infrequently circle back and evaluate - how is that working for us? Here are a few routines I see being challenged here at LCES right now:

Grade seven, with Mr. Hosmar as guide, is trying out a very different classroom arrangement. They have replaced most desks with multiple areas to work at depending on what the learning task at hand is.
Sometimes they sit in a stadium style arrangement, other times it looks more like a family living room, other times it looks like a research lab.  There is nothing permanent about the configuration, but it has been fascinating to watch how space changes learning.

Our JK and SK classes are developing differently as learners in how they shape their own learning. In addition to teacher directed learning activities including prepared materials, allowing students to shape their own learning based on what they want to do, learn, and share in lessons shaped by inquiry based learning. Students pose questions, answer them, investigate, and collaborate - with the teachers supporting them every step of the way. It is exciting to watch their progress. Building bird feeders out of pumpkins is an example I saw recently - research in action!

Adding Chromebooks to our toolbox of learning tools has been fascinating this fall. These very mobile, simple computers have been used from JK all the way to grade 8 in many subject areas. What’s interesting to me is that when they are the right tool for the learning underway, using them causes the tool to become less important than the learning that is happening with them. They are not “doing computers”, they are learning and it happens to be on a computer in their classroom.

At LCES, I’m thankful for both routine and new things to challenge us. SJ

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