This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about revisiting learning. How often do we return to the same topics? How often do we read the same books or look at the same videos? How often do we have similar conversations? This year, I feel as though this revisiting has happened more frequently than ever before. Maybe it’s due to the nature of our kids. They do have some interests which have remained consistent since September, and they even request similar books, video clips, or topics of discussion on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure that we’ve read and discussed The Lorax a hundred times, but our class would happily make it 101, and the same is true for Plastic Planet. I remember listening to a Speech and Language Pathologist, many years ago now, talking about read alouds. She said that children are happy with repeated readings. It’s adults who tend to get bored of the same books. Observing and listening to our kids, I would say that this holds true. Throughout this past week though, I became even more aware of why this repetition is so important.
It all started mid-week when I began to question a routine, and then this happened.
Then the next day, there was this discussion during one of our small group meeting times.
We’ve talked about Picasso and Paul Klee more times than I can count. To hear this SK student reflect on the artists and modify his thinking around his sister’s work is quite incredible.
Following that, we had our Fun Food Friday, and we heard this discussion to start our day.
Fast forward to our small group read aloud, where we were looking at some more of Peter H. Reynolds’ Be You. This one page led to a conversation that we did not expect but totally loved. (In retrospect, I wonder if we could have looked at intersectionality here, and talked about what we can’t see but could know about each of these people.)
I remember back in February when our students struggled with noticing and commenting on differences, especially around race. Then our vice principal suggested the use of a different book, and we got a few more comments, but it was still slow.
We’ve returned to conversations around equity, race, and intersectionality often, and hearing the comments yesterday made us realize that so many topics just cannot be taught in isolation. Regular conversations help increase understanding and comfort, so that the discussions happen more naturally and more frequently. A special thank you here to Sajah, Stephanie, and Parsa: these three educators wrote the lessons for Learn. Disrupt. Rebuild., which really has us thinking differently about our approaches, resources, vocabulary choices, mini-lessons, and conversations.
As June nears and another school year comes to an end, my teaching partner, Paula, and I are reflecting on what we revisit, how we revisit it, and what new information might spark further thinking and conversation. We’re eager to gain some insights from our students on what they might want to look back at again. While this strange year with regular pivoting (I do dislike this word, but don’t know a better one) might make for some concerns around what “hasn’t been covered yet,” I can’t help but wonder if re-looking at important topics might allow for links to even more expectations than we realize, especially when starting with the overalls in mind. What do you think? What might you revisit as a class in the coming weeks? This past week has shown me that it’s the repetition that truly does allow for more.