Friday, November 27, 2015


A venture capitalist searches for the purpose of school. Here’s what he found.
The Wonderful:
Yesterday, as I drove Skyler to school we came upon incredible fog formations.  We had had two glorious days of rain here in Northern California.  When we left our house, it was crystal clear but as we meandered up and down and twisted we drove into pockets of fog which sparked Skyler's inquisitive fourth grade mind.  As he picked the songs for our morning playlist, he began his stream of questions which I dutifully answered with a question or an "I don't know - we better find out." Here is a brief example of our exchange:
Skyler - "Why wasn't it foggy at our house?"
Me - "Hmm, I'm not sure."
Skyler - "Why is it foggy in some places and clear in others?"
Me - "Well, what do you notice about the areas that are foggy and the areas that are not?"
Skyler - "The canyons are full of fog, why is that?"
Me - "It sounds like we need to do some research on fog, why don't you start our search of resources by asking Google?"
Skyler - "Okay Google, why does fog form in canyons?"  (he often absconds with my phone and asks Google questions...)

We bantered about fog and hypothesized during our 25 minute drive to school.  It was one of the many inquisitive conversations that we have that has lead to further exploration, curation, creation and sharing.  Later, we whip out our dueling Chromebooks and gather resources; read, discuss, and process the information; decide on a platform to create a place to curate our resources; share our creation with others.  These are the real-life, meaningful learning experiences that Skyler is passionate about and they only occur outside of school (until he shares his creation at school when allowed).

Why do my son's most meaningful learning experiences occur outside of school?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

... And I Only Died 32 Times - Lessons from a Video Game


Just a quick pondering as I watch my son play a video game.

Skyler - "I'm stuck, I'm stuck, I'm stuck...
Dad - "What are you going to do?"
Skyler - "I'm going to figure it out - Mom says it's okay if something is hard because I need to be challenged.  I'm unstuck!  I made it to the next level!"  he exclaimed with confidence.
... and I only died 32 times.

I have a few questions:
  1. When is education going to stop putting a time limit on learning?
  2. When will mistakes and failure truly be embraced as learning experiences and growth opportunities?
  3. When will we look for the little incremental successes within the mistakes and/or failures to help students persevere and keep doing (remember according to Yoda there is no try)?
  4. How do we provide learning experiences that allow for multiple redos?
  5. How do we as educators support the students where they are to help move their thinking and understanding forward?
I could go on and on...