What Did You Learn Today?
What if we asked this question every day?
We can ask ourselves. We can ask our students. It may seem simple, but...
First, the emphasis is on you. What did you learn today? Each student is responsible for his own learning. Annoy them enough with this question and hopefully the one kid who never does anything starts connecting the dots. It. Is. Up. To. Me.
Second, the emphasis is on learning. What did you learn today? Learning is why we are here. Einstein was right to say "Once we stop learning, we start dying." Emphasize the learning and teach your students to live.
Third, the emphasis is on today. What did you learn today? To live with meaning, we need to be present. Otherwise, we just stumble from one thing to the next not knowing why. Why are we here today or any day if we can't find any meaning in it?
Of course, answering this question allows your students (and yourself) that one extra repetition; one additional way to process the learning.
So ask them to tweet, vox, or blog their answer. The exit ticket to the real world.
But not on Fridays.
On Fridays, at least some Fridays, but maybe all Fridays, ask this..
Look. I don't even know if de-stress is a word, but I know you get it.
I just read George Couros' blog Two Simple Questions To Ask at the End of a Professional Learning Day and though his topic is more related to the rant above, it prompted me to reflect on something else.
The end of the school year is stressful. AP tests, final papers, final projects, final tests. Final this. Final that. Thus, it becomes super important to inject a little bit of mindfulness into everything we do. So, I told my students that I am stressed out. I also told them I know they are stressed out and that I want them to plan and do something relaxing this weekend.
But it's not just the end of the year. I don't know what's in the Kool Aid these days, but I see a lot more stressed out kids now than I did 15 years ago. Why not remind them to take time to chill?
You too. Right now. If only for a while, commit to chill.
What are you waiting for? It's damn near impossible to learn when cortisol levels are high.
It's hard to change the world when you're stressed out. The world needs you. Take a breath.
What are you doing this weekend? Comment. Commit. Chill.