#the100dayproject: Can you help?

 

So I have made it to the half way mark of #the100dayproject or almost, one more Canadian emoji picture to go. As I look back it’s interesting how the same project, daily taking a photograph for 100 days, can have different learning outcomes each time.

The take away in year one was all about using more than the automatic mode on my camera and creating with friends. Year two was more about photography. I learned big lessons around black and white photography and minimalistic shots. This year brings with it a different lesson, one about the subject we photograph and how it can spur a conversation. With all the Canada 150 celebrations I decided to do #100daysofCanadianpics this year (I know it should be 150). It feels like the collection of images this year is spurring conversation. It has been so great seeing others jump in with their own images or suggestions. I’ve tried to stay to themes of 10 as it makes the 100 days go by faster. Only a few days behind as I’ve captured Canadian foods, red and white, tried to capture the national anthem.  My favourite set though was the first where I created 10 images for Canadian words. One of the suggestions from Janet and her class was meegwetch, the Algonquin word for thank you. I didn’t just want to squish it in and have been pondering where it could lead.

I was a little embarrassed this week as I thought about all the discussions in my undergrad linguistics degree and I couldn’t remember ever discussing indigenous languages. I’d love to say my program was at fault but if I am completely honest, I don’t know if I would have noticed. So this next theme of images is an opportunity to expand my own understanding. It would be wonderful to connect with speakers of the languages instead of just Googling. There is so much more to our favourite words, phrases than just the literal translation.

This theme will really push the boundaries of collective learning for me. So can you help?  Know someone I should connect with online or perhaps you can help me yourself.

Thanks in advance!

 

An Invitation

Earlier this month I was so excited to be a part of our district’s early years conference and it wasn’t just for the food trucks (but seriously how can it not be awesome when you have food trucks!). It’s the one conference a year that always pushes my thinking around what an adult learning experiences could look/feel like and this year was no different. As attendees came they were invited to explore the various playscapes around the building, designed and facilitated by awesome early years educators.

Invitations & Provocations are something the early years team has been exploring for awhile now and we can see brave educators take the idea to more grade levels. If you are unfamiliar Louis Jupp in her blog defines the terms invitation and provocation as the following:

Invitation – something that encourages someone to do something or that makes something more likely to happen; written or spoken request for someone to go somewhere or do something.

Provocation – an action or occurrence that causes someone to begin to do something.

I know I am personally working through the difference between the two terms but they both serve the purpose to spark a learning experience.

I escaped the green screen playscape for a few minutes to look around. Each space had beautiful materials arranged in bins, baskets, jars and tables all begging to be explored. Many had questions or statements to help guide you to new questions or ideas you hadn’t thought of. All the space was used from floors to table tops and then the walls. It was impossible not to touch, play, explore.  It reminded me of countless early years classrooms I’ve visited or follow on social media where educators have done the same with carefully selected and organized materials.

As I wandered I kept coming back to the idea of provocations or invitations for adult learners. The playscapes during the conference were just that, an invitation to think differently, to play, explore, to learn as a community. How was I inviting educators to play, explore, and learn? What materials could I use to spark a conversation? What does an invitation look like when it comes to modern learning and how would educators respond?

Maybe everything we do is an invitation: an invitation to think differently, to change our practice, to play, explore and learn. The trick is making it irresistible and provoking the thinking further along the way. Something I will be reflecting on this week.

 

 

 

The Education Battle

I went to see Gifted last night with a friend. I’ll admit it isn’t hard to convince me to see a ‘pull on your heart strings‘ movie with Chris Evans in it.  I expected the tears (you could hear the sobbing in unison at one point in the theatre) but not the reflection on education. Maybe that’s silly, it’s a movie about education after all.

In case you haven’t seen it, the movie in a sentence: An uncle is raising his math prodigy niece in a less than ideal but happy environment when grandma, mathematician herself  wants to pull her away to study math and solve unsolvable problems.

It’s always hard watching movies about education. There are always a few cringe worthy moments like the teacher mentioning ‘we don’t speak unless spoken to’ to the grade 1 class (YIKES). But as GIFTED flows you realize the story comes back to the purpose of education. It’s the same dilemma we see on TV, in our conversations at dinner tables, with siblings, sometimes around our staff rooms as well. What is the purpose of education? Philosophy is pegged against Mathematics, academics versus the ‘feelings’ part of education.

As I was watching the movie I kept thinking of Logan LaPlante’s TED talk a few years ago.

The beautiful complex, competent, capable bundle of energy math prodigy needed them both in the end to be happy and healthy. Don’t we all?

If I have to choose one though I think I would go for the ‘decent humans‘.

 

 

 

Jumping In – A Nudge

It’s always quite the milestone to make the first marker of a long project like #the100dayproject.  As we completed our first week Monday I was reminded why I love the project. Once again I’m learning and being inspired by great individuals sharing their practice openly. Sometimes it is friends like Sharon Drummond and her daily data doodles. Other times the inspiration is from someone new like parade.made and her whimsical daily Kawaiiness prints. I have to admit though that one of the most exciting elements this year is that my dad is joining in.

It was a simple mention. I can’t remember why I tagged my parents in a post about the project but I just mentioned in passing on Facebook they should join. My mom has always been artistic. The calmer pace out in the East Coast is giving her the opportunity to create more (really it is all the snow days). I thought she might appreciate the challenge. My dad is just getting in to photographs and Instagram. I didn’t expect them to follow up (first mistake). And in typical fashion my dad just jumped in. I opened my Instagram account to see my dad’s first post. We then chatted back and forth about hashtags and how it all works: a unique hashtag for his project, the collective hashtag to connect with the community. The hashtags are muddled up most days and the pictures may be of the ordinary but they demonstrate a commitment.

A commitment to a shared experience between us despite the miles, a commitment to try something new, a commitment to continuously learn.

I hope I am willing to jump in so freely the next time I am nudged with a new learning opportunity.

Morning PEI #100daysofcapturingPEI#100daysproject@2847michaelzita

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Learning in Conversations

It was the first time I had been to a conference the size of SXSWedu and the number of sessions was astounding. At any give time you could have 3 or 4 highlighted that you wanted to attend. And yet through all the sessions I was reminded that much of our learning comes in those informal conversations.

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Conversations…

  • over breakfast with your table neighbour Amanda where you pick up a quick strategy like  yes, and 
  • during a social network hearing an awesome idea from Suzie & Alicia about recycling old  admin phones for VR.
  • with individuals at a Maker Meet Up like Mo whose work you have followed on Instagram for a long time and end up in those random deep conversations about education .
  • in a session where you hear about the great stories of a group like UrbanTxt from Oscar
  • where you are able to connect with the people behind some of your favourite tools like Joey from Flipgrid and Kaja from Kahoot (who would have expected an Ontario/Queens university connection in Texas with someone from Norway).
  • over dinner with new and old Apple Distinguished Educator friends where you can share stories and tools with friends like Ann Kozma.
  • with your colleague that ping pong between education, neuroscience and life in general reminding you how awesome of a human they are.

The best part about learning from conversations? They aren’t bound by a specific space or time. Every day brings with it the opportunity to learn from awesome humans.

 

Are You Happy?

Maybe it’s just me but I find it easy to get caught up in the busyness of every day life. I also have a terrible tendency to reflect and focus on what to change, do better, what didn’t work. It’s sometimes can feel like you are stuck in a grey cloud.

So as I was scrolling through posts on Facebook this weekend stumbled on Courtney’s post.

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What was I happy for?

  • warm temperatures
  • a breezy walk
  • sunsets/sunrises
  • quiet time with my ‘nephew’ dog
  • catching a glimpse of an authentic laugh from my two tween nephews
  • a cold cane of coca cola
  • and so much more

There is a science to happiness! If you don’t believe me, watch the Soulpancake special.

So what makes you happy? Or as my MEd instructor would say What makes your soul sing?

Hope

It was a very grey January here in Ontario. It seemed like a continuous month of overcast grey skies. You know you have seen a lot of grey skies when you get as excited about sunshine as I did this weekend. Even though I know it won’t stay and we probably will get a big dump of snow soon enough, the sunshine, warm temperatures, and blue skies gave me hope that spring is around the corner.

As I was thinking of the hope I was reminded of some of the examples of positive viral videos we shared at the #peelpowerup with kids on Thursday. As we were looking at the images & video we realized how simple they were sometimes.

  • a young man tying a shoe for an elderly man he didn’t know
  • another holding the hand of a stranger with special needs to help them through their anxiety

As I was walking it hit me. Perhaps we love those random acts of kindness because they provide us hope just like a warm sunny day does in winter. As small as the act may be, it reminds us humans aren’t all so bad. There is hope that we can be better, that we are better.

As I continued my walk I wondered what the role of hope is in education. Education can feel like those overcast grey skies sometimes. Two steps back for every step forward. I find that no matter how grey, there are gentle reminders like a warm sunny day.