Sunday, June 5, 2016


Mindfulness through writing is a powerful thing. 
I invite you to take a few minutes. 
Free write, 
make a list, 
write a poem, 
craft a blog post, 
draw a doodle, 
take a picture. 
You pick. 
CURIOUS is your word to explore this week.
Share your story in the comments! I can't wait to read about your week!
Thanks for exploring your story with me!  

Psst! Yes, you!
Wanna read what I wrote about when I explored the word curious this week?
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  1. Hey, Jen,

    It sounds like you had an awesome week. Summer vacation is treating you and the family well. I am jealous. I still have three weeks of school to go, but I will write that I had an awesome week at school.

    My writing is a reflection (which is most of my school year writing). I write a reflection after each inquiry-based or project-based lesson. Here is an excerpt that I wrote on Friday night (summarizing the presentations):

    The whirlwind of the last two school days brings me back to the memory, which seems distant, of the last two weeks of intensive research being accomplished by my sixth graders that are definitely ready for seventh grade. They perused nearly twenty library books about the Middle Ages (knights, Crusades, castles, weapons, and Charlemagne) and a half dozen websites as they took careful, thorough notes to prove their side of the story. The story was the Dark Ages. Did they believe that it was truly dark or not? Opinions are powerful, but they are nothing without the facts to support it. Well, with a few mini-lessons on note-taking, reliable sources, the power of quotes, locating only facts that will support their side of the argument, creating a presentation to persuade a specific audience (college professors and a librarian), strategies to utilize if they don’t understand the factual information that they are reading, and putting factual information in their own words (okay, so maybe there were more than a few mini-lessons).

    “There seems no limit to research, for as been truly said, the more the sphere of knowledge grows, the larger becomes the surface of contact with the unknown.” – William Cecil Dampier – My favorite inquiry-based learning quote from the morning monitor on Day 5 in the library.

    There was electricity in the air as each day the groups got closer to presentation day. They were talking about the Middle Ages. “Did you know the effects of the Bubonic Plague?” “I’m not sure that Charlemagne is really dark.” “What did the Crusades accomplish?” “The audience is professors. We don’t have in-depth facts.” Throughout all of these conversations, my excitement grew because I had come to the conclusion that the kids were extending their learning past the classroom notes, activities, and information that I shared with them. They were truly learning and I was guiding them (and teaching them through many, many mini-lessons).

    The flashback brings me back to the morning presentations. My favorite morning quote and translation to the project on the monitor “Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.” By Wendy Wasserstein – Today is the day to be remarkable – be prepared to be great. Here’s to hoping that the saying that hard work brings (remarkable – my touch) results is accurate. After the first three presentations, it was evident that the students were meeting the expectations laid out in front of them almost two weeks ago. They had the panel’s attention and they were being remarkable.

    After each presentation, the panel members fired questions at the students (some questions that were more appropriate for college students), and to my delight, they answered the questions (some of them answered with poise and confidence of a college student). The written feedback will give the students something to think about while they prepare their next project (for some, it will be in sixth grade language arts class, which we were in the library this afternoon writing business letters and doing research) in the future. The panel’s honest feedback, which was good and bad, will indicate to the students that they had the professor’s (and librarian’s) attention. This will make the presentation memorable as a learning experience.

    Thanks! Happy writing!

  2. Hi Andy! Thanks for sharing! Taking time to stop and reflect is so powerful! I love how your lessons set the kids up to be able to be curious and to build their own understanding but also how it gave them an experience to share their research in an authentic way to the panel. Sounds like a really great experience for them!


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