Opening Minds

For our first unit we are looking at humans and nature interact and how that impacts our environment.

We’ve been looking closely at Singapore, because we live here, and how the planning of the city has impacted nature, but also how nature has impacted where we choose to live, and how we choose to live.

So far it’s been really interesting, students have been using Google Earth to look at where cities are mostly located and why they may be located there, big surprise water is an important factor. Looking through field trips and museum walks we’ve started to think a little more like city planners.

Looking forward to the next couple weeks to really uncover what and how people interact with the environment.

First day in Grade 6


Some rights reserved by Jamie McCaffrey


This is our first week back, and the adventure begins.

This is also my first year in a classroom in five years.  I’m pretty excited about it, as a Digital Literacy Coach I worked a lot in classrooms and with classroom teacher, but I haven’t actually been guiding a class for sometime.

So my first week back I decided I wanted to be a flexible classroom.  I want the students to be able to decided how and when to sit a certain way. This gives my students a little more agency and just establishes us as co-creators of a classroom which is pretty exciting.

Not too much to report after just a day, but I wanted to start getting in the habit of writing.

Stages of Learning

Attribution Some rights reserved by pgbailey

I do a lot of things in my off time, even though I really like doing nothing.  One of the things I’m doing this year is captaining/coaching a frisbee team.  We have a great coach we work with, and he was talking about stages of a great ultimate player, and I thought this applied a lot to learning too. 

I wonder how often we are stuck in the conscious incompetent stage. Without a learning coach or someone explicitly helping us become conscious and competent, how can we easily navigate our own life long learning.  
Part of the job I think I am good at is listening and helping shape consciousness and direct people towards competence.  When we can understand what we need to do to get better, I think it’s much easier for us to make that progress, it’s when we don’t understand that we feel frustrated. 
As a beginner things can be liberating because we don’t even know what we’re doing wrong, everything is just kind of fun, but as we get through the process things can become more difficult. 

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 Some rights reserved by tim.klapdor

I think we can apply this easily to many aspects of our learning, but I like how this image shows the disappointment.  Once we start becoming more conscious we enter into this “trough of disillusionment”. 

So how can we remain optimistic about the future like we are when we are unconscious and still promote and develop consciousness?

Tadpole habitat

We’ve been working on getting a home set up for our tadpoles, last week students researched what tadpoles needed to survive and this week they started putting the habitats together.  This is pretty great for us because when we went back outside, the water is all gone, so no home for our little friends.

As a learning journey the students loved it, they learned a lot about tadpoles (and it’s still on going) and they are totally motivated to make the most out of their habitats, pretty exciting times.

New problems

We were walking in the outdoor discovery center the other day, and it looked like a lot of our problems (litter, dying plants, chalk) had disappeared, or been taken care of.  So we started looking for new things we could solve.  
It had been raining a lot, so there were lots of puddles (it’s been a really strange rainy season here in Singapore).  Anyway, the learners found tadpoles. So currently we are wondering how we can make the tadpoles environment a little more secure.  It was an interesting day.

Changes in the Garden

We’ve just returned from a holiday and looking out in the garden we’ve seen a lot of new wood covering the ground.  We’re going to use this to look into how systems change when humans try to make differences in our shared world.  Should be interesting.

Touching plants

When we’re outside with the little ones we’re looking for ways to engage their thinking, and hopefully drive some inquiry. One of the first things we do (and then we revisit it) is walking around touching, smelling and looking at different plants.  We try to do this so we get a better understanding of where we are, as well as feel more comfortable when working with other living things.