Sometimes It’s Worth A Change In Plans

I’m a planner. I like to be organized. I like routine. And I really, really struggle with last minute changes in plans. Today though, I made a change in plans, and things couldn’t have gone better!

It all started when I arrived at Starbucks a couple of minutes before the store opened. I was listened to the news in the car, and I heard that today, Sunnybrook Hospital was going to be a live tweeting a heart surgery. We just finished a Science Unit on the human body, and this seemed like the perfect connection.

As I walked into Starbucks to get my coffee, I set my principal and vice principal these two tweets:


Kristi, my vice principal, replied a few minutes later with,

2014-02-20_19-51-57This is when the conversation continued, and I started to develop a plan.

2014-02-20_19-55-30So I changed our entry writing activity for this morning. I got students to work together to access the tweets, look at the videos, preview the photographs, and write their own questions, comments, and wonders. They knew that many people would be reading these tweets, so they mentioned the importance of,

  • Proofreading their work before they share it.
  • Ensuring that it’s appropriate to share.
  • Ensuring that their questions and comments make sense.
  • Ensuring that they ask questions to gain new information or clarify their current understanding of the content.

It didn’t take long for the discussions to begin and the tweets to start. Students got incredibly interested when Sunnybrook Hospital replied to our first tweet. As more questions got answered, more discussions evolved, and more students wanted to share wonders with the hopes of getting responses as well. What a great motivating factor for writing!

Our day got even more incredible when the students went off to music, and I received a tweet from Simon Ostler, a reporter for CTV News Toronto. He was working on this Sunnybrook Tweeting Event Story, and wanted to get some video footage from our class to use on the news. What an incredible opportunity! How could I say no to this?! 

So after the nutrition break, I made another change in plans, shared this exciting news with the class, and got a student to help me record this video footage.

We sent off the video to Simon, and appeared with this short clip on CTV News tonight! I’m so proud of all of my students for sharing their knowledge about the human body, sharing their questions and comments related to numerous photographs, videos, and tweets, and showcasing how even elementary students can act responsibly online (and see the true power of social media).

A special “thank you” to Sunnybrook Hospital, and their amazing patient Lou, for providing this incredible learning opportunity today! We wish Lou a very speedy recovery! Some days, it really is worth making a change in plans. When have you made last minute changes in your plans? What were the results? I hope that we can all share some wonderful stories!


6 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Worth A Change In Plans

  1. What are plans with inquiry based learning………something mean to be changed! My plans develop as the day goes on! I can’t predict where my kids are going to go, therefore planning ahead hinders me! Now to figure out what to do now that the Olympics are almost over………………..

    • Thanks for the comment, Lori! I realize that with inquiry learning, plans can always change, but I think that there’s still value to plans. The questions we ask, the student interests, and the thinking shared may tweak those plans, but I’m not sure that we need to forgo planning ahead altogether. I’m curious to hear what others have to say about this!


  2. Wow! Wow! Wow! Totally cool! What an opportunity! Bless you for being the sort of creative teacher who sees a learning opportunity and grabs it with both hands! Lucky students! Well done!
    Deb Hogg (Sydney)

    • Thanks Deb! I was so proud of my students and what they shared after reading the #SBHeart tweets. I’m fortunate to work with such amazing students at such a fantastic school!


  3. Hi Ms. Dunsinger,
    I work in the Communications & Stakeholder Relations Department at Sunnybrook –
    Thank you so much for following along with our live tweet yesterday! Your students had great questions!

    We’d love to chat with you about a follow-up Skype with the surgeon, if you are interested. Your students could speak to Dr. Cohen via Skype and ask any unanswered questions they may have.


    Looking forward to speaking with you!

    • Thank you so much, Alexis! Wow! What an incredible experience this would be for my students. We’d love to Skype with you. I emailed you to try and arrange something. Thanks again!


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