Want to learn with your students? Read and comment on their blogs!

In Synergy, we are working to establish the habit of writing about our work, thinking, and learning.  Once a week, we ask our learners to blog to communicate with others in our team about their questions, ideas, and activities.

I know more about my students than ever because I read their blogs.  I know more about their questions, planning, problem-solving, and attitudes. I also know what they want to know more about and what they are interested in learning.  I have the opportunity to become a learner with them.  They lead my learning as I strive to lead their learning.  Isn’t that GREAT?

Here is this week’s blog post prompt:

After 5 weeks of Synergy, and after eliciting the Alpha project, you should have lots on your mind. This week’s prompt is OPEN. On wmslearns.net, write about what’s on your mind related to Synergy. Like all good writing, your post should express a complete thought with a balance of general and specific details.

Here’s what I have learned and want to know more about.  Note: I learned, read, and thought about all of the items below because my learners are interested in these topics.  Their interest piques my curiosity, and I want to know more too.

  • Did you know that there are solar-powered waste and recycling bins?  They are called Big Belly solar compactors.  The bin senses when the trash reaches a certain height in the container and automatically compacts it to about 1/5 of its original size.  The bins have a signal when it needs to be emptied which could reduce the number of trips made to empty the trash.  Wouldn’t this decrease the carbon footprint of the waste management facility on campus?
  • Did you know that TheFunTheory.com has a video showing a fun way to get people to recycle glass bottles?  Have you seen the Bottle Bank Arcade video?  Do you think that plastic bottles are recycled more than glass bottles?  How would we collect data to see?
  • Did you know that Patagonia has products made from recycled polyester?
  • How can we connect the theory of fun with recycling?  Have you seen Gobby? EnviroZone’s website says: “More than just a fun multi-stream recycling bin, it’s a recycling education program specifically designed to instill a recycling habit in children by teaching them how to separate recyclables from trash in a fun and colorful way.”
  • I have a learner who naturally uses acrostics to communicate her thinking.  They are brilliant! (I did not know what an acrostic was until this semester.)  What I particularly love is she embeds questions in the acrostic.
  • I wonder if the ad campaign team, the recycle team, and the Theory of Fun team would consider combining forces to promote art and education about recycling.  I hope they will read “More Art, Less Trash” artistic recycling bins to be installed on campus from Indiana University.  These bins remind me of the Chicago Cows on Parade art exhibit.
  • Do you know why you do or don’t carpool?  I didn’t until today.  One post caused me to write “My friends that live near me do not want to keep the same hours at work as I do. I come early and stay late. We come early because of the traffic and the opportunity to get a little work in before school starts. I stay late because of the planning and meetings I choose to volunteer to contribute my interest and learning. I also think my lack of carpooling might have to do with my responsibilities to my family. What if my daughter needs to go home during the middle of the school day because she is sick, and I don’t have my car? How will I help her? You post leads me to the current conclusion that I do not carpool because of my need for independence. I’ll keep thinking. Thanks…”  I didn’t know that was what I thought.
  • Which is more effective, an ad or a commercial?  I’m wondering whether a photo/print/billboard ad is more or less effective than a video?  Both can be considered PSAs or can they?
  • Are humans really motived by a prize or reward?  Have you seen Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team?  What happened when a $10,000 prize was offered to the team that built the tallest tower?

In addition to the above learning challenges, we also know more about the disposition of our learners.  We know which teams need coaching on collaboration and which teams need research support?  We have a better opportunity to serve as resources and guides because we share our thinking.

And if that isn’t enough…one of our Synergy learners provided the driving questions for tomorrow’s provocation.  He challenges the 26 of us to combine the work of Recycling, Cleaning up Nancy Creek, Carpooling, the Ad Campaign, and Cleaning Campus in a Fun Way to create a more “green” school.

My 8th grade teammates lead my learning; they motivate me to learn more.  Their questions cause me to have questions, to grow, and to learn.

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