When you begin a journey, you don’t know why. The trail will show you the way.
Stanley Vollant, Quebec’s first Aboriginal surgeon, founder of the Innu Trail Project
Hello! This is the blog! Thanks for making it here. The first couple of days of Grade Five are now comfortably behind us, and I am feeling very good about the group. There is very healthy diversity in our class and this is going to bring wonderful challenges and opportunities. The best part is that every single student is showing up ready and willing to try! Thanks for supporting that energy with food and love and whatever else you are putting in them!
What is this blog for? I guess the point is to communicate what we are up to as well as what we are wondering about, or things that I am reflecting upon. Eventually, students will begin contributing their own posts. Sometimes it will be straight-up information! (For instance: September 30th is a P.A. Day). And hopefully very soon both parents and students and conceivably other learners around the school or around the world will also begin sharing their comments. Then it becomes a conversation!
This year, we will be scientists.
Inquiry will be our main tool for learning. In all subject areas, we will wonder, question, hypothesize, gather evidence, test, argue and make interesting discoveries in surprising directions! This is inevitable when learning is actually happening.
For example, our first “math” question of the year was “Can we make 5 triangles with only 5 lines?” The first step in tackling what seemed an impossible task was bravery, and clearly everybody found some. Eventually a star-shaped solution was found, but then we had an important discussion about whether there was another solution. This involved looking at the problem a different, surprising way. Here are Carlos and Graeme’s picture of two possible solutions. Beside it is Olivia’s hypothesis that every time you add a line, you get another triangle–forever! (I think this might be called Fractal Theory, not sure):
I have come to see that understanding the history of words brings me to a much deeper understanding. Check out this entry for <learn> from the Online Etymology Dictionary:
Did you see that? The root meaning of “learn” is literally to follow a track: a path! It doesn’t necessarily mean we know exactly where that path will take us, and that can be exciting (and a little alarming sometimes, so we stick together). In my experience, the best learning happens when the students are leading. So my job is to encourage them to look for the paths. (If that sounds like I’m not doing any work, well, that is the goal but it’s a secret).
Words are definitely going to be a theme this year. We will be exploring words deeply as a means to heightened understanding in all areas. I’ll talk more about my approach to the English writing system in another post soon. (Yes, I’m talking about “spelling” but I’m also not).
So, thanks for participating by visiting the blog. Keep participating! (At some point it will be homework). I’ll try to keep at it; constructive feedback is welcome.
P.S. I will sign you up when I have your email, but you can subscribe yourself by clicking on the “follow” button.