Thursday, January 14, 2016

Have You Seen This?

This morning, I sent this photo to the whole staff with a message:

I was walking around campus and saw this and decided to take a photo. Do you know what it is? Do you know where it is located on our school?  I had never seen anything like it before! I'm not telling you what it is; go find out yourself :-)

I started receiving responses from our staff. I guess they thought it was a contest (not this time) or that I really didn't know what it was and was asking for their help.

My motivation was simple. 

I walk around campus quite a bit and love to snap photos with my iPhone whenever I see something interesting. The photos are then posted on social media or become part of our weekly Staff Bulletin. I carry my phone at all times because I never know when I'll have a great photo opportunity. 

We have a fairly spread-out campus, and I've noticed that we sometimes have a tendency to walk the shortest distance from one place to another. Often, we don't stop to observe interesting things around us. This photo was a way to send a message that it's okay to take a longer route to get from the classroom to the library or to the cafeteria or the playground;. It's perfectly fine to stop and have our students ask questions about what they observe. Then, search for answers to the questions. When I saw this flower, a lot of questions popped into my mind. Imagine how exciting it would be for students to discover the answers to their questions!

Years ago when I was just starting out as a teacher, I attended a workshop. The Professor (I think his name was Dr. Carr) had written this sentence on the blackboard in capital letters. TEACHERS TEACH SCIENCE TO STUDENTS. He challenged us to change the order of these five words. I was so excited when I figured it out: TEACHERS TEACH STUDENTS TO SCIENCE. "Science is a verb," he said. "Students should be sciencing." I never forgot that, and it became one of my core beliefs as an educator and a parent/grandparent. 

I hope our teachers show their students the photo and then take a walk around the school to look for that plant. Then I hope they have their students ask questions and discover the answers. Perhaps they could ask someone, an "expert"; perhaps they could make a guess about what kind of flower or plant it is and do some research; perhaps they have another way of finding the answers to their questions.

My suggestion to our teachers: Start out a little earlier to get to your destination. Take a different route. Encourage questions. Take time to science. 

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