Student Generated Essential Agreements

This morning on my newsfeed was a post from PE Teacher Andy Vasily, an amazing PYP educator who talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to authentic integration and cross curricular teaching in the PYP.  His blog is definitely worth checking out to get ideas for PE but also for excellent teaching practice ideas and ideas on how to collaborate across the school within a unit of inquiry.

He posted:

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I really like the idea of starting with a question and using those responses to draw out your essential agreements. As a Learning Technology teacher, it would be easy for me to substitute ‘PE’ for ‘Technology’ and see where the kids take it.  The same would be true for other single subject teachers.

For homeroom teachers, asking “What is important about 2nd grade?” could start to illicit some ideas that could lead into essential agreements. The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown could be a helpful lead-in to this discussion. Or you could go deeper with a question such as: “How can we motivate students, increase participation, and encourage deeper thinking in our classroom?”.  Or, “What will students in our class be known for at our school?”, “How will we make this year remarkable?”, “What do you want this year to be like?”. 

You could gather these ideas using one of my favorite tools, Padlet, which lets students paste virtual post-its to a collective noticeboard.  This requires no usernames on the part of the children, they just click on the board and paste a note. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Andy





Instructions For A Bad Day

School, for many teachers, is either starting for the new year, about to start, or already in full swing.  Quite like no other profession, teachers are paired with a room full of tiny humans and set about their day together on what can be exhilarating, all-consuming, rewarding, heart-breaking, exhausting, and empowering – and that’s all before first recess!

One of my favorite bloggers posted the video below on her blog with the accompanying text.  I am reposting it here (and linking back to her blog which you should read because it is awesomely inspiring) because it is almost certain that in the coming school year, there will be a bad day.  Maybe for you.  A colleague.  A student.  And we all need to remember that we don’t need to let the bad days define who we are.

So, in the calm, assuring words of the video:

Be confident.

Be gracious.

Be diligent.

Be forthright.

Be honest.

Be lucid in your explanation.

Be sterling in your oppose.

Be accepting.

Be ready.

Be aware.

Be a mirror, reflecting yourself back.

Be forgiving.

Be persistent.

Be resolute.

Be considerate.

Be patient.

Be loud.

Be open.

Be calm.