Monday, December 5, 2011

Are You Old School?

Old School - Square Butte, MT
Today's students learn 24/7.  This phrase resonated as I continued to read.  I thought wouldn't it be exciting to take the library classroom and move it more to the "old" poet/artist coffee-shop atmosphere of years passed.  The years that were noted for innovation and creativeness.  How can I re-create that creativeness in my classroom?

Stuart Woods opens many of his Stone Barrington novels with "Elaine's late".  In the author's notes he thanks her for extending fellowship to him and other writers in her restaurant and bar.  I want to create that atmosphere in my class.  I want my students to feel free enough to explore new learning and creativity.

I know from reading other educators' blogs, many of you have achieved this level of creativity in your classroom.  My question is how do the rest of us achieve this on a regular basis?  I know there have been lessons and days when I have achieved this; but it has been an unconscious achievement.  How do we replicate the successes in a conscious way?

This picture was taken in Square Butte, Montana.  There was a sign that said "Rooms" and a second sign said "make payment to Square Butte Water Committee".  That old school epitomizes ongoing change to me.  In my mind - learning happens 24/7 - takes on a cadence. I am reminded that education is a thread that runs through my life.  

I kinda like being "old school" with new dreams. 

I used on the original photo.


  1. I always love the pictures that go along with your blog--sometimes I look at the pictures first before I read what you have written (previewing my reading, I guess).
    You pose a great question--it's hard isn't it--to capture that creativity. To give kids permission to take the learning into their own hands. To experiment. To fail epically, if that's what happens. Good luck experimenting with this!

  2. Thank you. I so enjoy playing with the pictures. They have opened up another world for me. When we stopped at this school a little black hen came out to talk to me. I'll share those pictures and that story later.

    Last week I shared the picture of Uninvited guests (Harris Burdick) with my 5/6 combo and gave them time to write about the character and setting. Yesterday I put a different spin and gave them each 7 min to do a character profile on themselves. Then I read the profiles out loud with out the names.

    Everyone numbered another sheet from 1-23 (#students) and made a guess of whose paper I was reading. Once they made a guess I didn't let them go back and change it. When I was done reading I went back gave the number and read the first line and had the students guess. Then I had the author identify themselves. They loved it, about half the class got them all correct.

    I think they have a better understanding of a character profile now.

  3. I love the activity you did with the students. When we wrote individual fiction stories, I often read them, then had students guess who. As you said, they loved it. Like Deb, I have enjoyed your stories and photos through the months very much, & often read & show them to my husband. I can't exactly tell you what to do about that creativity stuff; each teacher at my school is different & unique & creates their own paths. Perhaps if you started with your photography, something you love so passionately, & show how stories come from that exploration. I feel a community story book coming...

  4. Perhaps you are bringing creativity to your classroom without knowing it. I love all the perspectives and stories you capture with your photos - something I try to do too, so I'll bet you bring that same exposure, side story stepping, and focus to your classroom.

  5. I think your idea of creating this kind of learning environment is wonderful. I'm just thinking what your classroom might look like. And I love the pic of the old school. It is so intriguing. Very cool.


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