I recorded this bit of audio to try and remember my thoughts as I reflected on watching my kids play this weekend. I did start typing it up, but the more I listened to the recording, the more I realized it would just be better to upload it to Soundcloud and share it that way!!!
How do you create space for, and in, the learning?
By using very simple mindfulness practices and routines, you can start to develop genuine independence and positive habits with students. Giving them the skill to walk into a room, find a space, relax, slow down and begin to focus on what they will be doing – and why – puts them in control of themselves and their learning.
Taking this bit of time at the start makes everything that comes after it more effective, more student-centred and more indicative of who they really are as learners.
In this video, Chad’s class are in the middle of a creative – and messy project. He is hoping to see his students take complete control of everything they do and has seen the power of helping them find and create the right mood before each session.
A couple of years ago, I made a posting and video about the power of setting up classrooms to suit the nature of the learning going on at the time. The context, at that time, was visual art and each student was involved in their own visual art project. They were artists. Turning the classrooms into art studios was a natural step towards making them really feel like artists.
You can do this for any context.
In this clip, the Grade 5 classrooms at my school are becoming art studios and the students are creating their own workspaces and innovation boards. One student said “its organized… but its organized in our own way”.
Another video illustrating the power of taking time out of the school day to allow students to calm down and get in the mood for meaningful learning.
The first half hour or so of the workshop was dedicated solely to relaxing, chatting, trying out wireless connections, getting on to this blog and getting to know the people in the room. This was an experiment with atmosphere, setting a slow and purposeful pace… something that is often completely absent in the schools we work in. Our schools, in general, are frantic, manic places in which every day is crammed full of as much as possible. Yet, all of our mission statements pledge to produce balanced and responsible individuals who will create a better world! My wife’s recent visit to Reggio Emilia has really got me thinking about the atmosphere, environment and aesthetic that we are educating children in. I think the participants at this workshop appreciated starting this way.