The first week of the semester is in the books and I think it was a success for my students. I have three groups of grade tens (two academic and an applied) and from first impressions, they are lovely.

My two academic classes are a part of a board initiative here in WRDSB called the English Digital Learning Project and I am so excited that we will have this amazing opportunity this semester! I love the focus on thinking outside the box as well as student voice and student choice. I’m really looking forward to seeing we can cultivate these characteristics across multiple schools in the board.

We are also making a concerted effort to teach collaboration skills, but instead of making students copy down a note, Amy Cruickshank from Southwood had the brilliant plan to have the students do the Marshmallow Challenge and reflect on it. My students loved it!! They had a blast working together and enjoyed the Ted Talk following our debrief.

What was really fascinating though was our discussion about how kindergartens tend to do better at this challenge than most other people. They talked about how kindergartens aren’t afraid to make a mistake and are willing to keep trying if they do. They don’t see it as a failure or that they aren’t smart, it just didn’t work. They also commented that as they get older, it’s the teacher giving them the solutions whereas in kindergarten, the students are learning for themselves. I was blown away by these reflections as they are so deep and thoughtful. It also makes me excited to think about that if they are here already, where can we be in June..

At the end of the day I checked Twitter and saw that @avivaloca’s class was also making structures and from a conversation that night, we had my grade 10 class interview three of her grade ones and it was amazing! I have to give a shout out to my student interviewer who is amazing with kids, but also to Aviva’s students as we really enjoyed engaging with them. I loved hearing their insights into the building and team work involved in the creative process. It’s also obvious that the growth mindset is at play in Aviva’s room as her students were talking about how they just kept trying new things and that they were having fun at the same time.

So at the end of two pretty exciting days, here are my take aways, I have some students who are already wanting to focus on learning not just grades, I also have some students who see the value in collaborating and thinking outside the box, and that we have a lot to learn from kindergartens and grade ones. They look for the joy in learning and that is something I hope my students and I can foster together this semester.


5 thoughts on “Learning from Grade Ones

  1. Thanks for giving my students an opportunity to engage with your students! They LOVED it! This may have been the highlight of their day. 🙂 It was neat for me to stand back and listen to them answer the questions as well. We’ve been doing a lot of building recently as we learn about Structures (connected to Gr. 1 Science, as well as some math expectations), and “perseverance” has been a big word as we continue to work through different challenges. As my students spoke to yours, I could see that they’re definitely taking this “big word” to heart.

    Seeing how much the Grade 1’s are willing to take risks, try, make mistakes, and try again, makes me wonder how we can continue developing these skills as students grow up. Maybe play-based and inquiry learning are key. If students continue to experience these types of learning environments, what impact will this have on them? I really hope to find out!


    1. I’m excited for both of you! I learn from my Gr 1 son every day! I also wonder where the joy, excitement in learning and risk disappears to as children age. The majority of secondary students I’ve taught or guided have lost these wonderful traits. I’m hoping more partnerships and learning opportunities like the ones the two of you are engaging in develop around the province. I think there are so many advantages to having students of all ages working together, exploring, discussing and taking risks. Hats off to both of you for making this happen!!

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