Thursday, January 29, 2015

Surprise Journal

A while back I wrote about transforming my students' blogs into a more reflective space (Reflective teaching and learning - the blogs). This practice has had the desired effect in my students, allowing them to put their learning in perspective and becoming more aware of the meaning behind their experiences in my classroom. It has helped clarify goals, and moved them away from the superficiality of  "My goal is to get straight A's", to the more meaningful "My goal for next week is to pay close attention when writing my notes and keep them in an organized binder so I can use them when I study for Friday's quiz."

However, for some of my students they have also become a little bit formulaic, lacking in that elusive element that makes students attempt to go beyond the obvious.This is why I was very happy when I read the Surprise! article by Julia Galef. Her ideas led me to think about how my students' blogs could also include a simple "surprise" statement. The goal is to have students acknowledge the fact that there are everyday moments that lead us to curious discoveries. That being open to those moments of surprise gives us permission to explore creative solutions, and that being wrong is most definitely not a "bad" thing as long as we take a moment to think about what we can from it.

We have barely started including these surprises, and I am once again having fun reading their posts. My students continue to grow and explore the world around them with curiosity, challenging each other to find the most interesting surprises. That is what teaching is all about.