Taking This K Team On The Road: Adventures In Learning At The Hamilton-Wentworth Principals’ Conference

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to present at different workshops and conferences. I always enjoy this chance to connect with others, share ideas, but also receive feedback, which ultimately leads to some new learning for me. Today’s session at the HWPC Conference (Principals’ Conference) might have been one of my favourites. Why? Because of the partnership!

Not only am I grateful that the HWPC (Hamilton-Wentworth Principals’ Council) asked me to facilitate a session on Self-Reg, but they did not ask me alone: they asked both my teaching partner, Paula, and I to do so. This speaks to how much they value us as a team, but also to how much they value multiple perspectives within their professional development. It’s a small action, but with a very big impact!

As two Kindergarten educators, it’s probably no surprise that …

  • we came with the most supplies. 🙂 We were tempted to bring our huge stick weaving tree as a Self-Reg option, but we couldn’t get it into the car. Now that would have truly been a conference surprise! 🙂

  • we used the constructivist approach to help build learning together. Paula and I thought a lot about some advice shared by one of our superintendents, Sue Dunlop, a number of years ago. Each of today’s sessions were 75 minutes. That’s a lot of talking time, and we know that nobody wants to sit and listen to us for that long. We also know that everybody in the room is coming with different experience and viewpoints, and there’s a great opportunity here for people to learn from each other … and push each other’s thinking. We tried to capitalize on that today, and the discussions were so incredibly rich. It made us sad to end them.

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Different photographs from our #hwpc2019 session today. So interesting to first see what administrators chose as their @self_reg options. For our first session, it was all about reading and colouring: quiet choices. Could this be due to it being the second day of a conference with lots of socializing time? Was there a draw to some silence? With a smaller group and a lack of interest in the more physical options, did those that might have picked these other choices not have done so, as others were not there? (One participant mentioned this as he reflected on the choices.) In the second session, there was far more interest in the movement choices. We even got a group of administrators playing a rubber chicken throwing game in the hall. ❤️❤️❤️ There was also more socializing, even at the more independent spaces. Was this talking time needed then? Did the connections people already had to others in the room influence this? So much to think about! ❤️ SWIPE ⬅️ FOR MORE. #iteach #teachersofinstagram

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By presenting together though, we were not alone in observing and reflecting on today’s conversations. Just as we do in the classroom, we tried to capture the learning, reflect on what we heard, and make meaning out of what we observed. As we both resisted the urge to fall asleep on our ride back home, we spent time talking about our sessions, our observations, and our wonders. This time to converse with somebody that shares the same experience with you, but also pushes you to see things differently, was so incredibly valuable. It’s what’s missing from a session alone. 

Today I was reminded about the value in a strong partnership, the need for multiple perspectives in professional development, and the need for “talk time” to get to that uncomfortable place where learning happens. Thanks to our eager session participants, who got involved, engaged us in discussion, and left us leaving for home with full minds and happy hearts.

How do we create more opportunities for multiple educational stakeholders to construct knowledge together? The potential for greatness definitely exists with this!


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