|Connect with me here!|
I had a great conversation while out on morning supervision with one of my staff at West Langley Elementary about the importance of having "YES" days in our classrooms. And while it seems like a simple enough idea, I'm not sure we give ourselves permission to actually do that. And at a time when change in education can be overwhelming and learning time can feel like a scarce commodity, this idea of saying "yes" when working with students is even more important.
One of our Kindergarten teachers, Ashley Wong, has been working with her class on using more inquiry based learning as well as connecting with other classes through Twitter. A project she is currently working on is based on the book Snowmen At Night. Her and another class in Chicago, IL have been Skyping with one another to share what they are thinking and learning about the book. As part of their learning, her class talked about what Snowmen do as a job during the day. They then created a visual representation of their snowman doing that job using any materials they wanted. She simply supplied a variety of things and even got materials if the students asked for them.
And in sharing this lesson with me, she said something I thought was very powerful and really resonated with me. She said, "it was so nice to say yes to the students. We spend so much time saying no, it was exciting and fun to be able to say yes when they asked, 'can I do this.'" And while I was interested in the project itself, the inquiry based learning and authentic connecting, I was intrigued by her notion of "saying yes."
We just don't do it enough. Now granted, there are times we need to say no to students. That is an important part of the learning process. But I think we forget sometimes how important it is to say yes to them as well. To allow them to be creative, to inquire and explore and to engage in things they are passionate about. And as educators, saying yes sometimes gives us a different perspective on how a particular child learns. Creating an environment where barriers are removed may show us talents we never knew existed. I know in looking at the snowmen created by Mrs Wong's class, saying "yes" made for some amazing learning and highly creative final products.
I wonder how classrooms could look if we said "yes" more often. And how do you say "yes" in your classroom? And if you feel like you don't get to enough, what are the barriers to being able to do that? Please leave a comment below sharing your ideas, thoughts and reflections about saying "yes" when it comes to learning.