A Full Brain, A Happy Heart, And Lots Of Wonders … What Are Yours?

THESE words: “You’re not going to learn anything new.” Is it ever okay to say that to someone? An educator? An administrator? A parent? A child? If I’m in a session, I want to leave with something new. Sometimes that something is …

  • a question,
  • a wonder,
  • a resource,
  • an activity, 
  • or an idea,

but I want to leave with my one takeaway. Now I’ve become better over the years at pushing myself to look for that takeaway. Sometimes it’s hidden, and sometimes I need to dig for it, but I can usually find something. If at all possible, I really want this takeaway as something to do rather than as something not to do. 

I’ve been teaching for a long time now, and over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of presenting at different workshops, inservices, and conferences. When planning a session, I try to think about the range of individuals that might attend, and I try to anticipate what their one takeaway might be. I’ve started to include slides much like the one that I did recently for my OAME presentation on Playing With Math.

Not all participants added a comment, and I will admit that I left wondering, did they leave without a takeaway or just leave in a rush to get to the next session (that being lunch)? I hope that they left with something, as I also left with a few things that I wish I did:

  • Talking less at the beginning, so that there would be more time to play at the end.
  • Considering if I could merge both play/small group elements, so that I would have to regroup less and participants could settle more into this play. 

Reflecting on these takeaways are also making me think of some of my other key ones from the conference. Instead of lists of resources and activities, many of my takeaways are questions/wonders for me to consider … hopefully with the help of my teaching partner, Paula. Being the social conference goer that I am, I tweeted out most of these key takeaways, and I want to share them here as a way to remind myself of them and possibly start conversations around them. There are lots, and I know that I won’t be able to address all of them at once, but with them listed here, at least I can come back to them.

Does this comment help us see how children might perceive documentation? How do we continue to make documentation joyful for kids of all ages?

This next one I didn’t tweet, but I wonder, why are kids not extending coding beyond when we do it with them? Are creating the conditions enough? Does there need to be more? Does the age impact on the amount of independent extensions? What have you seen is possible in your class? 

It’s Lisa’s tweet that has me wondering, how do we perceive ourselves based on what others share? Why do we see ourselves in this way? Will this blogging news impact on what/how I share? 

What might other educators and administrators think of this image?

@Roosloan made me wonder, how do spatial sense and number sense connect? Are we helping children see these connections? Should we be approaching some of our math talks differently? What do you do?

How do we get people (kids and adults) to stretch their thinking and see things differently?

How can we also lift each other up more, and what value might there be in doing so? 

This one is not a question, but a reminder to explore these resources more.

I wonder how we can expose our kindergarteners to different numbers — big ones and super small ones — as a way to further explore numbers and gain an even bigger appreciation and understanding of math. 

A conference that leaves me with this many takeaways — even unknown ones to consider more — is a pretty wonderful one indeed. What are some of your takeaways — from questions to resources — from the OAME ConferenceI wonder if what others think will also trigger some more thoughts in the rest of us. OAME participants might be coming to a single conference with many different backgrounds, but I’m glad that I left with so much to consider. I hope that other brains feel just as full.


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