I was thrilled this year when I found out that we could go to EcoHouse (Green Venture) and get our own vermicomposter. I knew nothing about vermicomposting. The only thing that I know about worms is that I LOVED going out and finding them as a kid — I’d dig for hours — and even as an adult, I used to get a little giddy when I saw them on the sidewalk or in the parking lot at school. It’s so much fun to look closely at these wiggly creatures. Thanks to Green Venture, the Grade 1’s would now have their own vermicomposter with so many inquiry possibilities and so many connections to living things. What could be better?
It was when we went to EcoHouse (Green Venture) that I realized that a vermicomposter is a big responsibility. I tried to be responsible. I listened carefully. I documented all of our learning and all of the important facts.
But then I sent a tweet out this morning to ask about the compost, and thanks to many responses from a fellow Grade 1 teacher, Lori St. Amand, I realized that I missed a lot.
Now with this new knowledge, there was still time to correct the error. I decided to use Lori’s PicCollage on her blog, and together, we worked on feeding the worms correctly.
The students knew that we made mistakes, but they also saw that we could go back and fix them. We could learn from these mistakes together. They were really excited about this, and I was too, but then I got this email from Lori tonight.
Oh no! Of the five items on the list, we only managed to get item #4 correct. What now? That’s when I emailed Lori back to ask if we should fix our errors, and she gave me this advice.
Thanks to Lori, tomorrow we’re going to be spending some time shovelling out our big pieces of food, reconsidering food items, and fixing our vermicomposter once again.
Why do I share all of these “mistakes” and “corrections” here? Because school is about learning, and I love the fact that with meaningful inquiries, we can learn alongside our students. My students can see me struggle, and even fail, but then go back and try again. And I don’t have to do so alone. I can try and learn with my students.
The most wonderful thing about all of this is that I’ve never had so much fun at school before! I love getting so involved in the learning that I also forget about the time, and feel like “groaning” along with the class when it’s time to tidy up. Kids want to be at school when they’re enjoying themselves. I think that the same is true for adults. And this enjoyment doesn’t need to be in the form of a game or a big celebration: it really is the true joy of learning, the excitement of problem solving, and the thrill of a good challenge, that makes school the kind of place both the children and I want to be. Whether a parent, an administrator, and/or an educator, what makes learning fun for you? How do you provide this same environment for children? I’d love to hear your thoughts!