I had a dream last night that I was working on two puzzles that each fit into a frame. I was almost done and then so confused where to put the last piece in each. I had the puzzles spread out horizontally on the table and then I had an aha moment when I realized that one had to be held vertically! And voila I finished both of them. That dream was so unsettling, because although I rarely remember my dreams, this one I did, and even in my dream I said, “Wow, this is also what learning is like. It takes more then one try and it takes different perspectives.” I know, I know, this is what you dream about, you say. Subbing all over the place, with different age groups and grade levels, I do see the continuum of learning. (Not an original coining of a phrase, but one that has supported my thinking through the years.) We have our lessons, whole groups, half groups, small groups, and one on one individual time. We introduce, we use anchor charts, mentor text, manipulatives, discussions, we have turn and talk, and we have our student’s practice, practice, practice. For some, they’re quick to get it, understand it, and apply it. But for others, not quite so. Now is when remembering that continuum of learning is important for those students. It takes time and different iterations till it builds into their “toolbox of learning.” Here is where practice, support, where really listening to our students’ needs and where the gift of time comes into play. I often say to the classroom teacher how much I’ve seen a student grow this year, whether socially, emotionally or in their academic domain; which often impacts their approach to learning. And yes how much they’ve accomplished! Some behaviors, some learning, some challenges may continue, and then one day the puzzle pieces find their home.
It’s Spring Break at our school. Time to renew, refresh, enjoy! Wherever you are in your school year, I hope we can all remember that learning is a continuum, for our students and ourselves, as well.