Day 114 (of 183) sense of community and belonging….follow me here!
The day started out on the wrong foot. Missed a call from a specialist that would have avoided the drive to a neighbouring community for a double appointment. But, decided to make the most out of an opportunity and phoned a friend….
We met for coffee and he asked how my son was doing and I shared he was in a learning environment which had a strong sense of community and he felt he belonged….little did I know that would be the theme of the day as I did some extra exploring……
We went to an academy run by two teachers I used to work with (almost a school within a school) and brought my son with me in order to get his perspective
Here is what we saw:
Small class size (at this time, some times there would be many more students). While we were there, they were having an Around-the-table discussion: conversation around understanding each other
Open & honest communication / know self & others strengths and areas for development
They reinforced that Honesty is job 1
Individual chairs (seating matters)
Drinks ‘as needed/wanted’
Lots of their personal & group work projects in display – finished and in progress including getting ready for ignite presentations
I also saw:
Pattern math – grow by 4s starting in a random number (ie start at 15)
Sharing strategies (ie pattern of 11s – restart when errors made)
My son commented (and confirmed by the teacher) that they were part of a community within a community and they all belonged, no matter what their challenges were.
I found it interesting that he also noticed something specific about ‘the noise’ (it didn’t seem noisy to me) as he narrowed it down to an “echo within the room” that I hadn’t noticed, but also wasn’t listening for. Interesting what other ears & eyes pick out.
Checking out another “room” : we saw the goal was finding what works for the individual learner. Just today, a student recognized they could be distracted by their drawings (it’s not just tech that’s a distraction – even the kids with the books hidden in their desks and being read while the class moves on can be problematic). So he tried to keep the art separate from work and move back and forth- integrating strategies & distractions & focus/goals.
In other words, not everyone has to do the same work, at the same time, in the same way).
We noticed the focus was finding a Connection to learning; which was in no small part due to finding a connection to the environment. It was also made clear that both rooms (as well as my sons program) start the day building connections to the environment – starting in circles talking about “stuff” in order to make sure everyone is ready to learn….not “on your mark, get set, learn”
Connectivity is huge, working on finding out ‘how much’ can be done and handled at any one time. Of course, it’s different for each person!
Best of all was it kept coming back to an unsurprising Common Theme: community and belonging. It just makes sense to engage learning….and I love hearing how it’s being used in a variety of learning communities!