Stepping Back into the School Year

The time has arrived to enter into a new school year. This summer I focused on decompressing from the previous 18 months of pandemic teaching. I found the need to decompress and remove myself from all things associated with teaching was very necessary for my overall well-being. Additionally, the process of decompressing was difficult and unnatural. As an educator, my summers traditionally center on professional learning throughout to improve my abilities. Yet, this summer I found my brain could not handle any form of learning. When I would attempt to do anything related to school, my brain just shut off. This was really telling. 18 months of intense teaching and learning clearly took its toll on my ability to process and engage. My body was literally telling me to stop all that I had traditionally done throughout the summer and focus on rebuilding, restoring, and recalibrating. Continue reading Stepping Back into the School Year

Finding Peace in the Wild as Educators and Bringing the Wild to Our Students

Seeking knowledge and preparedness (my way of controlling what I could about venturing into the wild), I spent the months leading up to our tour of National Parks in the American West intently reading books and articles and watching documentaries about history, flora, fauna, and wildlife in the parks. I prepared but also braced myself for unpredictable experiences such as a grizzly bear encounter.  Continue reading Finding Peace in the Wild as Educators and Bringing the Wild to Our Students

Embracing a School-Wide Explorer’s Mindset is More Important Than Ever

gether exploring how our own views of the world influence our students’ curiosity, sense of responsibility to others, and perceptions of personal empowerment to lead change. Because this past school year marked challenges and opportunities for growth like never before, these kinds of questions and conversations are more prominent than ever. We are embracing a school-wide Explorer’s Mindset as we reflect on the past year and plan for the horizon ahead.  Continue reading Embracing a School-Wide Explorer’s Mindset is More Important Than Ever

Teaching is an Act of Poetry

I want you to take a moment to see that every inch of what you have done this year as an educator and as a learner, as a human being, is already an act of poetry. When you have engaged in science and geography learning, espousing the Explorer Mindset through curiosity, observation and collaboration, you have been an act of poetry asking others to exchange with you and with each other their unique experiences. When you have asked them to study the history of those who came before them, to explore ancient civilizations and understand the human journey, they connect themselves to the wind and the tastes and the smells and the feeling of being in those moments, in the poetry of the bones of those who came before us. When you ask them to solve math problems and calculate the physics of how our shared planet operates, when you humanize numerical interactions, you are asking them to feel that sense of meaningful struggle and discovery and seeking out ways to understand things with universal connective tissues.  Continue reading Teaching is an Act of Poetry

Harnessing a Cyclone: Why Now?

This post was written by elementary educator Kelly Gresalfi. This is a four-part series, with installments released weekly. We encourage you to follow Kelly’s journey this month and challenge you to engage in the questions at the end of each segment using the hashtag #ExploreReflectConnect. In this particular moment it’s safe to say we feel like fish flopping out of water, which is why we need to … Continue reading Harnessing a Cyclone: Why Now?