Saturday, 31 December 2016

Interview with Doug Peterson

I was tickled pink to be interviewed by Doug Peterson for his blog Off The Record.  Doug and I worked together for many years and he supported me and countless other educators in exploring how we could use technology to support our own learning as well as student learning.  Here's our interview from his blog post:
I had the honour of working with Lisa Cranston for a number of years in her role as the Early Years Consultant. Geographically, our offices were about as far apart as they could be in our area and yet her door was always open when I needed her candid advice. I was so pleased when she agreed to the interview.
Doug:  I always start by asking people where we first met.  I remember, do you?
Lisa: I believe we met on a golf course when I was invited to attend a Program Department year end golf outing just before starting with the department.  I was partnered with you and our friend Debbie.  I remember that Debbie wasn’t a golfer so she was really impressed when either of us hit a drive that went any more than about 150 yards! Is that right? 
Doug:  Bingo!  I think we did drive them more than 150 yards if you count the entire distance as they sliced.
One of the things that you always did that impressed me was staying on top of current issues and research.  Do you have a strategy for doing so?
Lisa: I try to keep current by accessing a wide range of sources.  The doctoral courses keep me plugged into academic journals and scholarly articles.  I use social media like Twitter to find links to popular articles, and follow a few blogs as well.  The thing I like about my doctoral program, the self-regulation courses I’m taking through the MEHRIT Centre and social media is that you have access to  ideas from educators around the world rather than only the local or Ontario context.  And I’m naturally curious and love to learn, so that helps too!
Doug:  The other thing that equally impressed me was that, unlike others, you aren’t constantly name/theory dropping and always approached topics practically.
Lisa: That’s only because I have a terrible memory and can remember what I’ve read but not where I read it or who wrote it!  I often want to jump to the practical application of research and theory and sometimes need to be reminded to take time to ground myself in theory before moving to application.  
Doug:  One of your first jobs in the Program Department was that of a Mathematics coach.  What was your focus when working with classroom teachers?
Lisa: My main focus as coach or consultant was on building relationships with educators. My goal was to build a reputation where I was viewed as a resource, a person with some expertise but really coming into the classroom as a co-learner with the teachers.  I tried to avoid being seen as ‘the expert from the board office’ who was coming to tell someone how to do their job.  
Doug:  Over the years, we’ve seen the results from standardized testing take a hit on the system.  What’s your theory?  Are we just that bad at teaching Mathematics?
Lisa: I think there are some fundamental problems with standardized testing and there is far too much weight put on EQAO scores.  It is only one quick snapshot, one piece of data, on student achievement.  I also think it’s terrible when the media use test scores to rank schools or judge teachers. I”m not convinced that the standardized tests accurately reflect student learning, especially in primary grades. We create a classroom culture of collaboration and then administer standardized tests that force students to work in isolation. 
Doug:  Is there a magic bullet that will make it turn around?
Lisa:  I don’t believe in magic bullets.  There’s a false dichotomy of ‘we need to teach basic facts’ versus ‘teaching math through problem solving.’  I think students need both a firm foundation in basic facts as well as a conceptual understanding of mathematics.  And teachers need to have a deep understanding of the mathematics that they are teaching and what good math pedagogy looks like and sounds like.
Doug:  One of my personal highlights was working with you and a number of Primary teachers in a technology project that involved computers, SMARTBoards, and sound pedagogy.  We created materials and led many workshops as a result.  What are your memories of this?
Lisa: I think we did so many things right with that project!  First we focused on the pedagogy first, not the technology.  The teachers looked at the technology through a critical lens – was this simply an interactive worksheet or was it good pedagogy? Second, we chose teachers who weren’t technology gurus. Some of them were quite intimidated by the technology at first, and they became huge advocates for integrating technology into classroom instruction. We had one teacher who didn’t even have her own classroom but was ‘on a cart’ providing prep coverage and going from classroom to classroom and she made it work!  
Over time, those teachers took on leadership for workshops and delivered PD to other teachers in our board and at regional conferences.  There was so much power in their presentations because they could talk about their own journey with the project and the impact it had had on their teaching and their students’ learning.
Doug:  A massive project that you took the lead on was the five year implementation of Full Day Kindergarten.  It’s now seen as the way that the school district does business.  But, it didn’t happen overnight.  Since you don’t believe in magic bullets, there has to be a story or two from that project that you can share.
Lisa:  Massive is right. It was unlike anything I’d ever done before.  On this project, I got to coordinate with people from so many different departments – human resources, facility services, business, transportation, IT, as well as with the staff from the co-terminus board and child-care facilities.  The first few years we had to open FDK in schools with existing room but in year three we started building new classrooms and renovating some older classrooms.  I got to work with architects, had input on blueprints, and work with the purchasing department to buy all the new materials.  There were nights when I would wake up in the middle of the night, thinking I had made some sort of multimillion dollar error, but overall it was a blast.  By the end of the five year roll out there was a whole team working on this project with me, and the learning was incredible.  The pedagogy in kindergarten has completely transformed since 2010 and I can see the work we did is now influencing teaching in other grades.  We have gone from teaching based on themes like ‘teddy bears’ or ‘winter’ to student-led inquiry learning inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education.  It’s been amazing.  Now that FDK has been rolled out in all of our elementary schools and with the ministry release of new Kindergarten documents in the Fall 2016, it seemed like the perfect time to retire and have someone else take on the leadership for Kindergarten in our board. 
Doug:  Recently, you have enjoyed the end to a distinguished formal career as an educator.  Yet, you continue to work at education.
Lisa:  I retired from my position at the board but I haven’t retired from education.  I like to keep learning and exploring topics in education that interest me.  There are so many ways to learn and collaborate online.  I’m doing my doctorate online with Western University and taking courses on Self-Regulation through the MEHRIT Centre. 
I am a member of a couple of Facebook groups like Inquiry Based Learning in Kindergarten and Math in Inquiry Learning, but I wanted a group that discussed things from a leadership perspective.  I couldn’t find one, so I started one called Leading in Education.  I recently started a blog called Opening Doors for Learning.  In the past ten years we moved away from the ‘sit and get’ style professional learning workshop to being co-learners with teachers at the school level through models like collaborative inquiry and lab class.  The title of the blog, Opening Doors for Learning, is meant to reflect that movement towards deprivatizing teacher practice.  Writing for me is very cathartic – I have all these ideas in my head and writing them down for the blog helps me to reflect on my thinking and my learning.  It’s not written from the perspective of being an expert, but from the perspective of a learner.
I’m still learning how to share the blog with others without feeling like I’m saying “LOOK AT ME!”  Self-promotion is uncomfortable for me, yet I get really excited when I see that people are reading my posts.  I had an article published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Staff Development and I have one in an upcoming issue of ETFO Voice.  I’ve also submitted a book proposal and an application to present at an upcoming kindergarten conference.  That’s a bit scary – you submit your work and it may be rejected, but when it gets accepted it’s pretty darn exciting!
Doug:  You shouldn’t feel badly about sharing your blog posts.  How will many know that you’ve written something new?  It only gets annoying when you repeatedly announce old posts time after time.  If you want some advice, I know a guy from St. Marys.  In the meantime, keep writing and sharing your wisdom via the various media you’re using.
As you mentioned, you are now committed towards a Doctorate.  What will be the area of your research?
Lisa: Western University has a really interesting approach to the doctorate program.  If you are in the PhD program, you do research with the long term goal of a career in academia.  But they also have the Educational Doctorate program (EdD), which I’m in, that has a focus on developing educational leadership skills by creating an Organization Improvement Plan for an identified Problem of Practice. So I’m still doing lots of reading and learning but with the long term goal of applying the learning. My Problem of Practice is focused on helping kindergarten teachers and ECEs to develop and deepen their understanding of self-regulation – how to teach it, how to document it and how to assess and report on it.  It’s a big part of the Kindergarten Program document that was released by the Ministry of Education in June 2016. 
Doug:  You have my best wishes with this endeavour.  I look forward to calling you Dr. Lisa.  As with all things, you continue to impress.  I wish you all the very best with all that you’re juggling.
Thanks for the interview.
Lisa:  Any time!

You can check out all of the interviews posted to this blog here.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Saying Yes

I'm not great at New Year's Resolutions.  I always resolve to eat healthier and exercise more - while sitting on my couch having a glass of wine on New Year's Eve.  This quote from blogger Kristen Armstrong sums up my resolution for 2017:

It's not too late to get off the fence if there are things you have wanted to do or say but have held back or played small.  Do it. 
Say no to fear, hesitation, and indecision and say yes to your life.

In the past, I was sometimes afraid to challenge myself but I find as I get older I am getting braver.  I started my Doctorate last year and the thought of defending next spring is terrifying, but I'm going to do it! I've prepared a book proposal to submit to a publisher for consideration; right now I've sent it off to a critical friend for review.  And, so far, I've submitted two articles for publication, and I've also applied to present at three upcoming conferences.  For some people, submitting articles or applications might not be an act of bravery but the fear of rejection is kind of scary.  Promoting my writing and my blog on social media makes me feel uncomfortable, like I'm saying "Look at me!" However, pushing past these fears opens up opportunities for exciting experiences, so my resolution this year is to continue to push myself.  I can't wait to see what opportunities this year will bring!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Remembering Paul

I was shocked to learn that Paul Bisson, the principal of Tecumseh Vista School, had died suddenly on Christmas Eve.  Only 53 years old, Paul was literally 'full of life.'  I can't begin to imagine the shock for his family and for the staff and students at Vista.

I've been thinking about all the things I've learned while working with Paul.

1. The importance of working with people with different perspectives.  Occasionally, when things get a bit crazy, I think it might be easier if everyone thought exactly like me.  Paul was principal of Wm Davis Public School when it was selected to be one of the eleven schools in our board to implement Full Day Kindergarten in September 2010.  He attended regional ministry sessions in the lead up to implementation, and after listening quietly to the presentations he would ask questions that I hadn't even thought of.   His questions always prompted me to look at things differently.  I realized how valuable it was to work with people with completely different perspectives than mine.

2. The Importance of Creating a Welcoming Environment. When I posted Paul's obituary announcement on Facebook several other instructional coaches commented on how Paul always made them feel so welcome in his schools. I experienced this warm welcome each time I went to one of his schools - he greeted me with a big smile, walked me to where I was going and took time out of his busy day to do the same for all visitors. He always seemed genuinely interested in our work and how we were supporting educators and administrators.

3. The Importance of a Sense of Humour.  Paul had a great sense of humour and was almost always smiling.  In February 2016 a team of educators, including myself, went out to schools to conduct parent surveys during the Kindergarten Registration Open House.  We asked parents how they heard about the open house and what factors they considered when choosing a school for their child.  I was assigned to Tecumseh Vista, and Paul insisted that I indicate that parents chose Tecumseh Vista because "they were looking for a school where Paul Bisson was principal." He had a good laugh thinking about the committee members' reaction when they would be reviewing the results.
The most famous, or infamous, example of his humour was when a colleague was giving a tour of Tecumseh Vista to a group of visiting school administrators and university professors from China.  Paul introduced his female vice principal as 'his work wife.'  I don't think that translated very well!

We'll miss you Paul - your unique perspective, your unique sense of humour and your warm smile.  Rest in peace.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas To All...

It's Christmas Eve day and I'm doing my best to relax and not get stressed about the holidays.  I make a conscious effort to spend time relaxing and doing things that are enjoyable.  Maybe we don't have as many homemade goodies and our tree looks nothing like the trees in the magazines, but we're having fun!

Here are some favourite websites we like to visit over the holidays:

NORAD Santa Tracker (my favourite)
NPR StoryCorp on NORAD Santa Tracker

Reindeer Cam - Santa's Official Reindeer Live Feed 

The Santa Tracker 

North Pole 

Google Santa Tracker 

Friday, 23 December 2016

How are you feeling?

In the work I'm doing with educators, we are supporting students in developing their awareness of their arousal levels and effective self-regulation strategies.  But I know that there are times when I don't do a great job of awareness of my own arousal levels and I don't always self-regulate.  There are times when people ask, "How are you?" and my automatic response is "Fine."  
Years ago I was going to my family doctor and he was going to send me for tests for some sort of gastrointestinal hernia due to all the pressure I had in my chest and throat.  He asked, "Could it be stress?'   
"Oh, no," I replied convinced that I was not that stressed.  
Then in July, when I was off work for the summer, all my symptoms instantly disappeared.  Hmmmm - the doctor knew I was stressed, my body was telling me I was stressed, and I had convinced myself that I wasn't stressed.  So when I'm working with young children and expecting them to notice and name their arousal level, I have to remember how hard it was for me to do that.

Another important point to keep in mind is that very seldom are we feeling just one emotion.  Prior to a presentation I may be alternating between excited, anxious, nervous, and confident.  Sometimes when we are asking students, "How are you feeling?" we need to understand that the answer they give us may not capture the full range of emotions.


Monday, 19 December 2016

Broccoli Socks and Other Stressors

In a recent video lecture, Dr. Shanker from the MEHRIT centre shared that we tend to be annoyed when someone has a stressor that isn't a stressor for us.  This can happen if someone is bothered by a noise or a smell that we scarcely even notice. As educators we cannot allow our own baseline to cloud our judgement, nor can we allow other children's baselines to cloud our judgment. In other words, just because no one else in the class is bothered by the noise doesn't mean that it's wrong for one student to find it a stressor.  One year I taught grade four and had 29 very busy students in a portable.  Even though we tried to be respectful of one another, there was one student who was frequently bothered by the noise level. I gathered some old Calefone headphones and had them in a basket at the back of the room.  Anytime someone was bothered by the noise level during independent learning time, then they could help themselves to a pair of headphones.  They weren't connected to anything but it did help to muffle the sound.
This idea of stressors being so individual reminded of my eldest daughter.  When she was a preschooler she had clothing issues.  She couldn't wear pants because they were choking her, but she could wear tights and dresses.  She couldn't wear cotton sweat socks unless they were inside out - she called them broccoli socks because of the bumpy interior.  And she couldn't stand socks that had seams on the toes.  Even though it was frustrating I realized that she wasn't being difficult, she actually experienced these as physically uncomfortable so we reduced the stressors by letting her wear dresses and tights and she eventually outgrew it by the time she was five or six years old.

Especially during this busy holiday season, I want to be mindful that just because something isn't a stressor for me doesn't mean that it isn't a stressor for someone else.  Instead of feeling annoyed that they are being bothered by something that seems trivial to me, I want to think about how to reduce stressors for myself and for others.  

To some people it's just a tag, to others it's a torture device.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Shoulda' Woulda' Coulda'

I was in a grade 3 classroom on Friday and it was another cold day with a forecast of possible snow.  The school is located near Windsor Ontario which is about as far south as you can go in Canada  so we don't always have cold snowy weather in December.  The announcements were ending with a note about plans in case of indoor recess and the student who was sitting next to me said very matter-of-factly, "If it's going to be an indoor recess we need to go to the gym so we can burn off all this energy."

And I was making so many connections to what we had been learning about in the Self-Regulation course through the MEHRIT centre.  The five steps of self-reg are:
1. Read and reframe behaviour - is it stress behaviour?
2. Recognize the stressors
3. Reduce the stressors
4. Reflect (develop self-awareness)
5. Respond

This eight year old was doing so much self-reg work.  She realized that if the students were a bit squirrelly later on in the day it was because they'd been cooped up and hadn't been outside to play - stress behaviour not misbehaviour.  She recognized that lack of outdoor time as a stressor and she had some strategies for reducing the stress (going to the gym).

But here's the thing, announcements were over and everyone returned to their bell work and the day got started, and in hindsight, I feel like I really missed out on an opportunity to reflect with and respond to this student.

Dr. Shanker reassures us that self-regulation is a process of endless learning and deepening self-awareness.  I hope that next time an opportunity like this one occurs, I'll be able to not only recognize the self-reg that the student is demonstrating but be able to respond in a more meaningful way.

On that note, they were able to go outside but I think about indoor recess as a good example of a context for developing self-regulation and the idea of micro-environments.  How do we provide safe, engaging opportunities for students who need to burn off energy?  How do we provide safe environments for students who need time away from the social context of the classroom?  Can we have students moved to mixed age groupings so they aren't in the same room with the same people, especially when indoor recesses go on for several days in a row?

Below are some ideas I've seen used.  Feel free to share some of yours:

  • particular classrooms host 'bingo' for primary, junior or intermediate students so students can be in mixed groups and out of their own classroom
  • math manipulatives available for independent exploration
  • reading
  • library open for quiet reading for those students who need a quiet environment
  • computers and iPads available for student use
  • some centres set up in the hallways to reduce the number of students in class and provide a change of setting
  • board games
  • physical activity centres in the gym or classroom
  • yoga mats for students to do stretching in the hallway or at the back of the classroom
  • art materials available for student exploration
  • healthy snacks
From Dr. David Suzuki PS

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Self-regulation as Classroom Culture

 When I first began teaching kindergarten, I had little teddy bear cut outs at each centre to indicate the number of children who could play there.  For example, there were three chairs at the play doh table so there were three bear cut outs and three children could play there.  There were four chairs in the house centre so four bears, etc.  This is what I had been taught during my ECE training.
And what quickly happened is that I and the children spent our time policing how many children were in each centre.  "Miss, there's five people in the house centre. He came last, he has to go!'  "But she's had a long turn...." and so on and so on. 
So, my ECE partner and I decided to get rid of the teddy bears and get rid of the limits on how many children could play in each centre.  And the culture in the room shifted!!!!!!  We could focus on engaging with the children in play, and the children learned to determine what the limits were at each centre.  Sometimes a child would pull a chair from our make and take centre over to the play doh table and we might have four or five chidlren there.  On their own, they decided when there were so many people that the play doh was divided into such small portions that they couldn't really play effectively.

A few years ago I was visiting a kindergarten classroom and the teaching team had introduced a hardware store to the dramatic play centre with predrilled lumber, screwdrivers, screws and other materials.  As soon as whole group time on the carpet was done, about twenty students descended on the very small dramatic play centre.  We waited and in a few moments .... 6 or 7 students dragged some of the lumber and materials over to the tables to work on them there, about 8 children stayed in the drama centre and continued to explore and the rest wandered off to other centres.  They were able to decide if they felt playing in the house centre was worth the stress of negotiating space and materials or if they would rather wait and play there later.  All of this happened in mere moments and required no teacher intervention.

The Ontario Kindergarten Program document reminds us that children are capable and competent learners, full of potential and ready to take ownership of their learning. The classroom environment needs to reflect our belief that children are competent and capable. What limits do we really need to have in our classroom and which ones are purely arbitrary?

Here's a great article by Carol Anne Wien about teachers in a preschool centre in Ontario who found that eliminating many rules and reorganizing the physical space reduces accidents, noise, aggressive play and reduced teacher stress. This was originally published in the NAEYC's journal Young Children in January 2004.

Deanna Pecaski McLennan shares a post on her blog about how the Flow of the Day in her kindergarten classroom allows students to deepen their learning through large blocks of time.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Standing Desks and Other Classroom Micro-environments

I stumbled across these Standing Desk Hacks while wandering on Twitter the other day (be sure to scroll down once you open the link to see all of them).  I immediately made a connection to the self-regulation idea of micro-environments, or creating small spaces within the large spaces of our indoor and outdoor learning classrooms where students can go to up regulate or down regulate.

But as I went back and looked again at the Twitter images, I realized that none of them seemed to involve children or to be situated in an elementary school context.  I wonder how often we discourage children from creating these standing desks or other micro-environments even though their behaviour is clearly communicating to us that the current environment is a stressor for them.  As students burn energy trying to stay seated, they have less energy for learning.

Last week I was in a grade three classroom, working with a group of 6 students as they learned a new math game called Blokus  (It is a fun spatial awareness strategy game.  If you haven't played it yet, you should try it. It is so much fun! ) Each student had a partner and they had a colour of tile, and then I had the yellow tiles on my own. While we were playing some students were seated, some were standing, and all were able to learn.  If I had been worried about making sure everyone was sitting down, some of them wouldn't have been able to focus on the math and that's what was really important.  And really, how awesome is it that they are so excited about a math game that they can't sit still!!!!

Playing Blokus - some students standing, some sitting, everyone engaged!
Photo by Sherry Doherty (Twitter @sherrysws)

Having said that, one student was still having difficulty even while he was standing - he was banging his metal water bottle, he was singing, he was bumping into the desks. After a few attempts at redirection, I finally had to say to him, "Adam*, you need to go sit on the carpet for a couple of minutes until you can join us at the game without distracting me so much."  He went to the carpet and sat quietly while we continued to play, then after a minute announced, "I'm ready to come back."
(*name changed)

"OK Adam, but this game requires us to concentrate.  You have to make sure you're not too distracting."

He stood through the game for the whole period, and he still needed to move around a lot, but he was able to do it in a way that wasn't bumping the desks and threatening to send the game board to the floor and he wasn't disturbing the students who needed a quieter environment to concentrate and strategize.

Ideally, I wish I had taken more time to talk through the steps of self-reg with Adam and to debrief with him afterwards about his strategies that the used; that will be my goal for next time.  But, for now, I was able to recognize the behaviour as stress behaviour not misbehaviour and he was able to find strategies to successfully be part of the group.  I'll count that as a success.


Monday, 12 December 2016

Classroom Environments that Promote Self-regulation

As part of the course I'm taking through the MEHRIT centre, we were given the choice on how we wanted to do our latest reflection.  Inspired by Susan Hopkins, I created this video to showcase some of the ways that teachers in our board are using the classroom environment to promote students' development of self-regulation.  In a nutshell, self-regulation is the ability to monitor your own energy level - are you hyperaroused? hypoaroused? or calm, alert and ready to learn?  and then either up regulate or down regulate as needed.

Kindergarten classrooms can be noisy, busy environments but you can see in these photos how educators have created calm, soothing spaces for children.  Reducing stress allows students to reach that calm state necessary for learning.  I was in a rush when I created this video since our reflection was due that day, so I didn't add the photo credits.  I've listed them at the bottom of this blog post.

For more information about self-regulation:

The MEHRIT Centre

Understanding Self-Regulation: Why stressed students struggle to learn

For an example of one of Susan's video blogs:
Is this Self-Reg?  5 Misconceptions about Self-Reg in Schools

My Classroom Environment Reflection video:

Photo credits:
Slide 3 & 4: Ontario Ministry of Education presentation

All other images: Google Image search

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Let Me Teach Like The First Snow Falling

I posted this last year when I first start blogging. Very few people read it then, so I've revised and am reposting. 

This week we finally got our first snowfall of the season!  It wasn't much - just a light dusting, but it was still exciting. Whenever we get the first snowfall, I always am reminded of one of my favourite poems by Taylor Mali:

Undivided Attention

A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers,tied up with canvas straps—like classical music’sbirthday gift to the criminally insane—is gently nudged without its legsout an eighth‐floor window on 62nd street.
It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers’ crane,
Chopin-­‐shiny black lacquer squares
and dirty white crisscross patterns hanging like the second‐to­‐last
note of a concerto played on the edge of the seat,
the edge of tears, the edge of eight stories up going over—
it’s a piano being pushed out of a window
and lowered down onto a flatbed truck!—and
I’m trying to teach math in the building across the street.
Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned?
All the greatest common factors are delivered by
long‐necked cranes and flatbed trucks
or come through everything, even air.
Like snow.
See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year
my students rush to the window
as if snow were more interesting than math,
which, of course, it is.
So please.
Let me teach like a Steinway,
spinning slowly in April air,
so almost-­‐falling, so hinderingly
dangling from the neck of the movers’ crane.
So on the edge of losing everything.
Let me teach like the first snow, falling.

Mali. Taylor. “Undivided Attention.” What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 1-­‐887012-­‐17-­‐6)

When I began my work as a curriculum consultant more than ten years ago, most of our professional development took place at the board office or a catering hall.  Teachers would leave their schools, come to a workshop, then return to their schools and be expected to implement whatever strategies had been 'covered' at the session.  As consultants, we were expected to have expertise in our area and to share our expertise with teachers, administrators, trustees and parents.

Since that time there has been a dramatic shift in how we support educators in their professional learning and much of our work is done at the school using a model of collaborative inquiry where the teachers and consultants engage as co-learners in action research based student learning.

This model of collaborative inquiry has pushed consultants and instructional coaches into uncomfortable territory at times.  No longer can we show up with our powerpoint and handouts and our agenda.  Instead, the learning is driven by the observations and analysis of what students are saying and doing and how they are representing their thinking.  There are times when I feel very much like I am 'so almost falling' and on the edge of losing everything, yet it is also exciting and invigorating.  Engaging as a co-learner has allowed us to build relationships in a completely different way.  There is still a time and place for a more directed presentation style workshop, but our work will never be the same, and that's a good thing!

More information on teaching through collaborative inquiry:

Collaborative Inquiry for Educators
    Follow the author on twitter @Jenni_Donohoo

More information on teaching through poetry:

A YouTube video of Taylor Mali reading Undivided Attention: