Have you ever read something before and thought, “This was written for me. It was meant to be that I read this now.”? I had this feeling earlier in the month when I stumbled upon a quote that my principal, Gerry, shared.
As I’ve blogged about before, this year, I’ve moved schools. This move is all kinds of awesome, but it’s also all kinds of scary. For the past three years, I’ve worked with the same teaching partner (Paula), and over this time, we’ve developed a great relationship. We don’t always see things in the same way — and often push each other’s thinking — but we’ve also developed a rhythm that works for us and for our kids. While we’ve both moved to the same school, we are not in the same classroom. We knew that this would likely happen though, and we still wanted to embrace this change.
Looking at this quote, I’m reminded of some of my great new opportunities. Last week, I met with my current teaching partner, Carey, and we began to talk school.
- We finalized a class blog together. We spoke about how we would share it with parents. How might we both use it?
- We discussed a flow of the day. What would our day look like? Which transitions are necessary? What ones could we eliminate? Why might we do so?
- We explored how we would support student learning. What works for kids? What might not work? How can we change this?
We sat in Starbucks for close to three hours, and we talked A LOT.
This was only the start of the talking that continued today. We had a classroom of materials to sort, to put out, to put away, and to purge, and most material decisions, led to questions.
- Why do we need these? How will we use them? How will kids use them?
- Do these items promote independent play? Teacher-directed play? Does this matter?
- Do these items promote deeper thinking? Richer learning? Applications of learning? If not, what materials might?
- How do these materials connect with the philosophy in the Kindergarten Program Document? If they don’t connect, what other ones might?
- If children like these items, why do they like them? How did they use them before? How might a different schedule/flow of the day impact on their use of these materials?
After eight hours straight of sorting and purging, we still didn’t open any boxes, but we actually got a lot done. We also had wonderful conversations, that after a little sitting time and reflecting time, have led to streams of texts and more purging possibilities for tomorrow.
I told Carey that I wanted to write this post because this experience from today reminded me that one of the opportunities in the “new,” is the chance to really share and reflect on our pedagogy. It forces us to explore the “why” that can sometimes be forgotten in the familiar. So thank you to Carey, who I know got comfortable with getting uncomfortable today, but has also helped me think through a lot as we build our team. Whether you are working alone, with the same partner, or with a new one, how are you working through these important questions: reconsidering both space and materials under the umbrella of your learners? Sometimes it’s only through change that we’re reminded of the need to question, to converse, and to embrace new realities.