I read Karl Fisch’s post about What Matters? with great interest. I think Karl and his group of teachers are really doing a fantastic job with their students. We need to hear more about what is going on with our students. I recently skyped with Karl and Anne Smith. It was great to connect and talk possibilities. Anne Smith has the most amazing blogs. I have poured over them and I think the thing I like the best is the way she includes her students in the reflecting and thinking process. It is front and center and the focus is always on the students. Anne says:

I am just having a difficult time trying to find the line between feeling like I am leading them to the answer I am looking for (i.e. my what matters example) and having them struggle to find their own understanding – what I feel like they should be looking for.”

That really resonates with me. I have exactly the same feeling when I work with my elementary students and push them to reflect about their own learnings. It is not something they are used to doing. Also getting them to be risk-takers and not focus on what the teacher wants with their answers but instead what do they want? What do they think would work? I think it is a scary process at first for the students. Yet I believe with all my heart that if we worked at getting more responses from them, help then learn how to write reflectively and honestly, and give them opportunities to do this frequently…..we would all learn much that would help us in this journey. They need to be in on these types of conversations. And what better place to have these conversations than on blogs!

I am working with a language arts teacher, Mary Ann, who is just beginning to blog. She has read through Anne’s blogs and I can just see the light bulbs going off in her head. See her first two posts, Water, Water, Everywhere! and Say it in your own words! Great posts for a beginner, right? She is still pouring through Anne’s blogs and those light bulbs keep flashing! I know we will be starting Mary Ann’s students out on some type of “What Matters?” post. What a model from which to learn! (Thank you Anne!)

Tomorrow I go back to the school. As usual, I can’t wait!