Connecting a Snow Hike to #GeniusHour and #20Time
I had meetings and a long to-do list planned yesterday, but Mother Nature intervened. My son had a snow day and my to-do list quickly became going on a snow hike. He happily packed his backpack with a bottle of water, binoculars, a world atlas and my iPad (just in case we needed to look anything up on our hike).
We were on an adventure to find animals and their winter habitats. We found nests, carved out trees, crevices and footprints in the snow. We went to Salamander Pond (a name my son gave a pond years ago) to see if we could investigate where the salamanders go in the winter. We stood in silence listening for clues and heard the sound of the snow falling. It was a spectacular snow day and an even better snow hike!
In fact, it was one of those moments in life that you want to freeze and capture. As I write this post now, I have tears in eyes reflecting on the importance of being present. When my son was in preschool, we spent every Friday going on learning adventures. We called them Friday Fun Days and during our snow hike yesterday, we reminisced about all of our previous discoveries. My son then asked, “Why can’t we have Friday Fun Day anymore?” I responded, “You are in school now….”
My response kept me up last night, thinking and wondering why this type of learning has to end just because you’re in school five days a week? I began to connect the concept of our Friday Fun Days, an opportunity for exploration, inquiry, discovery, curiosity, wonder and awe to what educators are doing with #GenuisHour and #20Time. I reflected on how Nick Provenzano and Joy Kirr embrace this type of learning with their students and I was immediately filled with hope. Then countless our educators in my PLN came to mind and my list of exceptional educators could go on and on….
My take away? I have a few – be present and in the moment, cherish moments like a snow hike or Friday Fun Days because nothing in life is more important than the time we spend with each other. Let students take the lead in their discoveries and learning. If you are on the fence about Twitter and creating a PLN, you are missing the most incredible opportunity to connect and collaborate with passionate educators committed to student leadership and student voice in their classrooms everyday! And lastly, I can only hope and pray that every child has a teacher like Nick and Joy, as well as all the educators I know and respect in my PLN.