Tag Archives: I Can

Falconry: I believe in you…

Problems are what make us interested to learn more.  Problems are the sign of a curious or creative mind.  Problems are really just challenges in disguise.  People who go looking for interesting problems are people who create and invent and discover things.  Someone who never looks for problems will rarely learn anything new.  And the ‘bad’ problems, the kind that truly do make you mad or sad or get you into trouble, well, try to turn them into ‘good’ problems by asking questions about them, or looking at them from a different direction.  You’ll see how quickly some of those ‘bad’ problems will disappear. (Lichtman, 103 pag.)

If we want our learners to ask more questions, shouldn’t we also ask more questions?  What is a good problem – a challenge or opportunity – that we want to take on?  Do we think about leading learning for our students by the example we set and the discussion we have about our learning, thinking, experiments, and actions? Do we lead learning by finding and accentuating the strengths, talents, and bright spots of every learner?

“You are all good questioners.
“You are all good problem finders.
“You are all good analytic thinkers.
“You are all good problem solvers, even for the difficult problems.
“Now we need to take the last step. I want you to become creational thinkers.
“What does that mean?  It means that you jump from analysis to synthesis; from critically evaluating what someone else has handed you to creating something to be critically evaluated by others; from reordering information to creating information. It means forging a path instead of following one. (Lichtman, 148 pag.)

I agree that “bad problems” can be turned into opportunities if we ask questions to understand from different perspectives.  How might we see through a different lens?

I argue with an “I can’t” mentality.  What if we discuss what can be and go from there?  I aspire to send a message grounded in believing in every learner; in other words, I aspire to change “I can’t…” to “I can…” with every learner.

I aspire to model partnering to shift from critically evaluating others to asking to be critically evaluated.  What if we bright spot work? Will we improve trust and relationship to the point where being critically evaluated is not deemed negative but actually sought?

I aspire to forge a new path, collaboratively, with learners.  I aspire to be a co-learner, to walk a path together.  I agree to try. I aspire to believe in every learner.

I aspire to listen more, question more, and learn more.

I aspire to become a falconer.


Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

[Cross posted on Flourish]

Learning is everywhere if you pay attention

Originally published in Flourish, April, 2013:

Learning is everywhere if you pay attention. At Trinity, we want every learner to know about themselves, the conditions that inspire their success, and the indicators that their struggles are worth it in the end.

Learning is – should be – reciprocal.  If I learn from you, then I want you to learn from me. Our mindset offers us the opportunity to have a broad view of our teachers.

Perhaps one of Trinity’s first graders taught the most enduring lesson I have learned this year.  Daily I struggled to accomplish a difficult task. (I was trying to work through a 10K training program.)  Many days, when I hit the first hill I would quit and walk.  It was too hard.  The distance was too long.  I just don’t run hills.  Yet, day after day, I would try again, getting more and more frustrated. Should I just quit? No one was holding me accountable. This was just a project that I started for myself.

Enter T, my teacher.  As I was walking down the hall, I noticed that T was working on a piece of writing.  To say it wasn’t going well would be putting it mildly.  He was frustrated to the point of being mad.


“This is too hard.  I cannot do this.  No one cares about this anyway.  I am never going to finish this.  I have so much to do.  I can’t do it.  I want to quit!”

I heard my words in his words.  I knew how he felt.  What he had, however, was a strategy that I did not have.  I, too, had a strategy he did not have.

First, we shared what we could not do.  He explained the entire story to me. Including his strategy.  The longer he talked, the more he worked and the further he got on his piece.

“Miss Jill, I’m never going to finish this.  It is too hard. It is too long.  I just won’t get to the end. I have only gotten this far.”

“I have only gotten this far” is the key to the lesson.  T was charting his progress.  He was keeping a record of what he could do.  Wow! Maybe instead of focusing on the entire project, I could focus on what I can do now and what I should do next.  By the time T reached the end of his piece, he was telling me what he was good at doing along with the strengths and talents of his brother and his friends. I learned to not stop while pushing up the hill.  I learned to tell myself what I have done, what I can do now, and what I should do next.

Turn “I can’t” into “I can.” – A powerful lesson to practice at any age.

“I thought Contagious was bad. Can it be good too?” #Synergy

“I thought Contagious was bad. Can it be good too?”  was an early reaction to Kiran Bir Sethi’s TED talk on day one of Synergy.

Have you been introduced to Kiran Bir Sethi, the founder of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad?

On day one with our new Synergy team, we used the TED talk, Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge, to introduce Synergy to our new learners.

More from the backchannel:
(Remember…a backchannel is for quick, collaborative note taking and sharing ideas…we encourage our learners to take the editor off of their shoulder and record ideas.  They can polish their writing later when they journal on the ideas that stick.)

  • Inspiration is contagious.
  • kids are doing things for each other instead of adults doing things for kids
  • Contagious; Laughter, Happiness i can- get infected
  • laughter is contagious passion is contagious. i can.good feelings can be contagious
  • The “infection” is slowly spreading
  • 100,000 children stopped and took the time to think “i can.”
  • I think it is about kids being able to change things, not just adults
  • this sounds like synergy.
  • kids can make a change- just find something you want to change and act on it
  • one week of kids doing their part can change so much.
  • I think one of the main points of the video is that kids can change the world no matter how old they are.
    when adults give kids a chance they take it and actually make a change
  • the teachers are the people that believe in us and say “you can”
  • this video shows how much we (8th graders) can help so many people or things
  • the children are using teamwork to change people’s lives like synergy
  • contagious is a good word
  • its good to have the “now” mindset rather than “later”
  • the words “i can” is very important because service, and helping is contagious. You must “infect” minds with the “‘i can bug”. Children must be aware, enabled, and empowered. Take your studies out of the classroom, and change billions of lives. Go from ‘i can’ to ‘you can’ to ‘we can’.
  • I think we have all said “i can” at one point. What these children do, and what Kiran Bir Sethi is saying is almost exactly what Mr. Adams and Mrs. Gough are telling us.
  • Contagious -“i can” -aware: seeing the change -Enable: be changed -Empower: being the change Teacher told me, to… i can! Simple tool kit, sent to india schools Children will thinking of solutions Kids Teaching parents to write&read
  • contagious, infect “I can” aware (seeing the change) enable (being the change) empower (lead the change) “you can” “we can”
  • I think in synergy We will take charge

Amazing!  Isn’t this what we want for our learners?  Actually, isn’t this what we strive for from our citizens?  Aware…Empowered…Enabled community members mobilized to effect positive change.

How can I continue to strive to become the teacher and adult described by two of our Synergy team members?

Teachers are the people that believe in us and say “you can.”

When adults give kids a chance they take it and actually make a change.

Give kids a chance…live the message “you can.”

Get infected…spread the “I can” bug.