Daily Archives: March 13, 2013

Thinking and Curiosity Matter- SOL #13

SOLS button 2013


Three weeks ago I attended a truly inspirational workshop, The Art of Teaching Literacy, in Hong Kong. I had the privilege of learning from greats in the field of literacy such as Stephanie Harvey, Matt Glover, Sara Holbrook, and Michael Salinger. There was so much learning packed into two short day. Now that I’m back at work, trying some of the strategies out, and reflecting on all I’ve learned, I thought it was time to share some of my learning. Today’s post will focus on what I learned during Stephanie Harvey’s keynote entitled “Passion and Wonder Are Contagious: Why Thinking and Curiosity Matter in the 21st Century.”

  • Buzz words- 21st century skills, college-readiness, career-readiness
  • We are currently going through the fastest change in history.
  • Did you know…Google began in 1994? Facebook is only 5 years old? Twitter is only 28 months old? ‘Friend’ is a verb in the dictionary (2010)? ‘Unfriend’ is too (2012)?
  • We, as educators, have no idea what careers there will be in the future. We are preparing our students for careers that haven’t been invented yet.
  • For future careers, we know students that will have to be thoughtful, strategic, wonder/be curious, and work together/collaborate, so we need to prepare children for this.
  • STEM- science, technology, engineering, math; STEM is the area most careers in the future will be centered around.
  • Small group work- should comprise 70% of the day; Large group- 30% of the day
  • Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google says, “Teaching will be learning how to ask the right questions. I was taught to memorize facts. Why remember them? Now you just need to learn how to search for information and sort through the burgeoning data available on computers.”
  • Eric Schmidt also says, “Instantaneous access really changes your life. What never changes is the need for curiosity. What you really need to do is teach people to be curious.”
  • Kids are naturally curious in kindergarten, but by fifth they aren’t. Conventional schooling drives curiosity out of them.
  • The more you learn, the more you wonder, therefore, you should have more questions in fifth and twelfth grades than you did when you were younger.
  • “I have no special talent. I’m only passionately curious.” ~Albert Einstein
  • We really need to be having lots of fun with our kids. The most direct link to learning is engagement, thus fun.
  • Inquiry-based learning is learning in a way that the kids’ questions matter.
  • “Interaction is at the core of engagement.” ~Harvey and Goudvis
  • Students need to constantly turn and talk; kids shouldn’t have to listen for more than 5 minutes without stopping to process and talk.
  • How do you foster and nurture curiosity in your kids’ learning and get them to ask more and more questions? (examples: post questions up around the room, wonder wall, provocations)
  • We need to live a curious life ourselves! How can we do that?
    • Model
    • Ask questions
    • Care about finding the answers (online, books, interviews)
    • Be awake to new information and revise thinking in light of new evidence
    • Confer with others
    • Construct meaning through drawing and writing (notebooks)
    • Be skeptical
  • “The questions a student asks after reading a text are a better assessment than the questions that a student can answer about a text.” ~P. David Pearson
  • Always ask “What are you still wondering?” because this allows you to gather loads of information from their questions.
  • Kids need plenty of time to just plain read! Why is it that the kids who need the most time to read get the least? We OVER-instruct them! We pull them for this or that and don’t let them just read. Every child who is a year behind needs twice as much reading as on-grade level kids. Give them class time to read. Make sure to give kids what they want to read to ignite their passion.
  • Four principles of reading achievement and learning:
    • Volume– the more kids read the better they read (texts they can and want to read; “she reads, therefore she’s smart”)
    • Response– the more kids interact, the more they learn and understand (authentic response, talking about books, taking action, writing a letter)
    • Explicit Instruction– kids need both teacher modeling and time to practice (they don’t need phonics instruction if they can read, they need time to read; modeling and giving them time to practice, it’s different than direct instruction)
    • Purpose– readers must see reading as a meaningful experience (avid readers already have an intrinsic purpose; we need to help our reluctant readers with finding a purpose, focusing on their interests)

Stephanie ended her keynote with, “Smart is not something you are, smart is something you get. And you get smart by reading, writing, drawing, talking, listening and investigating.” I believe it is imperative that we offer our students opportunities everyday to inquire, collaborate, read, write, use technology, speak, listen, experiment, play, ask questions, find the answers, and have fun. Stephanie is such a phenomenal person to learn from; she is incredibly passionate about what she does and it is evident that she truly loves children and wants them to succeed. I hope that you learned a little something today. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to clarify them for you.