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What Can I Give?

It’s the start of another new school year, and this is a time, while although filled with anticipation and the urgency to get things ready, it is also a time of deep reflection as I look back and think about what I want to leave behind from the previous year and what I want to carry forward into this new school year. In my reflections I’ve been asking myself, “What can I give?” Last September, I was starting at a new school and the last year has been one filled with adjusting and learning (hence the lack of posts on this blog!). There were days where my confidence in myself was completely shaken, yet I still had to press on, because my very rational self knows that they only way to get through, is to keep moving forward. Now, as I begin my second year, I have that gift of hindsight that comes when you come out the other end –  I now know my colleagues and there is a wonderful comfort in returning to familiar faces, places and routines. It’s amazing what a difference a year can make and I am grateful for all that I learned in making this change. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work in many different contexts, while also being able to maintain continuity through my work with supporting teachers and implementing curriculum. My teaching roles have ranged from K-10 including both classroom and specialist roles, I have been a curriculum coordinator for more than half of my career, I facilitate workshops for teachers through International Baccalaureate, I have been a vice-principal, and now I will have the opportunity to take on a partial role in the library. In short, I am a collector of educational experiences. In my deepest core, I know that each of these experiences has helped me to embrace change and ever-shifting paradigms, and they have ultimately shaped me as an educator as I continue to be challenged to grow and learn.

Over the years, I’ve had some conversations with colleagues that have left me feeling sad. Sometimes a colleague will share that they’ve given up – not on their students, but on the wider school (e.g. their colleagues, administrators, or all the change that happens). Somewhere along the way, their outlook shifted from one of giving to giving up. It is a sad, but true reality in our schools. A conversation like this can really bring you down, but you can’t let it keep you there. (I put on what I call my “iron panties” in these moments.) I listen with care to my colleague who is sharing and I offer support and encouragement, but ultimately, I can’t fix their problem, only they can. However, I can help them by giving my support and understanding – I believe it’s what’s guided my personal success over the years.

So, back to my reflection/question, “What can I give?” As I look forward to this new school year, here are some of the ways (not in rank order) I know I can give to my school:

To students, I can give…

  • my genuine care and personal attention
  • my best, most creative self (even if I am having a bad day)
  • my flexibility
  • my enthusiasm about what we are learning (even if it it’s not one on my favorite things)
  • my genuine support and encouragement by being their biggest cheerleader as they experience bumps on their road to success
  • my vulnerability by taking risks and letting them see me learn from mistakes
  • them honest feedback
  • my time
  • my gratitude for the privilege of sharing in their learning journey

To parents, I can give…

  • my time and attention
  • them an authentic ear
  • a thoughtful response instead of a reaction
  • honesty and respect
  • my partnership
  • my support and understanding when their child is experiencing challenges on their road to success
  • them my excitement and gratitude as I celebrate their child’s successes along with them

To colleagues, I can give…

  • honesty and respect
  • my care for them as people
  • my appreciation for their unique strengths, areas of expertise and passions
  • my support and encouragement in working through their challenges along side them
  • boundaries by not engaging in unhealthy thinking or dialogue
  • neutrality and objectivity
  • my sense of humor – everyday needs a little laughter!

It’s a simple truth, what goes around does ultimately come around. If we have a giving outlook instead of a getting one, that will come back to us ten fold. The more I give, the more I am gratified. So, I challenge you to ask yourselves, “what can I give?” and then start giving!

Source: www.buzzquotes.com
Source: http://www.buzzquotes.com

Why Great Teachers Are Adored By Their Students

Just today I was having a conversation with a colleague about the importance of relationships with students. Then I came across this post via twitter. It’s like Jon was a part of our conversation. Since I couldn’t say it better myself, I share his post and whole-heartedly say, “here, here!” Thank you to my colleague Carol for the very reflective conversation, and to Jon for unknowingly being the fly on the wall.

Where sharing mistakes is okay. In fact it's encouraged.

It is no coincidence that some teachers are adored by their students and some teachers are not. And while teachers that are adored by their students are not always great, all great teachers are always adored by their students. During my 17 years as a classroom teacher, instructional coach and vice principal I have noticed that are certain things that great teachers do,that whether they realize or not, make them great.

Great Teachers Treat Students Equitably Not Equally

All students are not the same. Great teachers realize this and they make it a point to give each one of their students exactly what they need, when they need it. They create a classroom culture such that each child realizes this and they are okay with it because they know that when the time comes, their needs will be met.

equity

Great Teachers Give Students a Fresh Start Every Single Day

Everybody makes…

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Playing With Time: Friend or Foe

Time has a way of marching on in spite of us. In schools, the clock on the wall is either friend or foe. Time can propel us or it can paralyze us. I’ve had a life long love-hate relationship with time. I’ve tried to master it, manage it, conserve it, speed it up, slow it down…the list goes on. A wise mentor used to laugh at me and tell me that I needed to be more playful with time. Play with time? How can you play with something that is always moving, never still? While I couldn’t see it all those years ago, my mentor was right. You really can play with time. It’s in the very forward motion of time that the beauty of time playfulness lies.  At that point in time, he knew something I did not: time is only scarce if we think it is. I used to think of time as my enemy – it grinded me and wore me down as I constantly tried to battle and slay it. There was never enough time, and worse still, there was no way  for me to somehow get more of this fleeting trickster.

In my own inquiry into how to play with time, I discovered a great book by Elizabeth Saunders called, The Three Secrets of Time Investment. While this book is not written specifically for educators, and my motivation to read it was more personal than professional, I still found myself reading the book through my educator lens and thinking about how Saunders’ principles could be applied to teaching and learning. Saunders proposes that time should not be managed. Instead, she challenges the reader to look at time from an investment perspective. Ultimately, we can choose how we invest our time. Instead of spending time, we need to invest our time. When we look at time from a perspective of scarcity, we are in fact hoarding it. If we always think there will never be enough time, there never will be enough time. However, when we look at time from the perspective of abundance then, and only then, can we have a magical play date with time. Here are some of my key applications of Saunders’ time investment “secrets” to an educational setting:

1. Accept the fact that time is finite. Every school day has a definitive beginning and end and there are only so many hours in a school day, and so many days in a school year. You can’t do it ALL. Face it and move on. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a learner, so why do we try to cram everything under the sun into a school day? The more time you spend on one discipline, activity, etc., the less time you can spend on

“If you commit to giving more time than you have to spend, you will constantly be running from time debt collectors.”  ― Elizabeth Saunders
“If you commit to giving more time than you have to spend, you will constantly be running from time debt collectors.”
― Elizabeth Saunders

another. A typical school day is approximately 6 hours long. Factor in recess breaks, lunch and transitions and there are about 4.5 hours of quality learning time in a day. How we play with that time is essential. You know you will see your students for a finite portion of their learning day so you have some choices to make about how that time should be invested. To play with time, focus first on the big picture before you start dialling it down to daily specifics. Think about all of the factors that might pull away your time…relational issues that need resolving after recess, assemblies, accidents, unexpected events like fire drills, absences, etc. Stuff happens in schools – there are a lot of variables that can’t be planned for or controlled. Leave room for these and focus on the time you DO have.

2. Clarify priorities. Knowing your curriculum well is the first step to knowing how to prioritize learning time. If you aren’t sure where you are going, how can you decide where to make curricular time investments? Be realistic when you decide on your curricular priorities. Real is not always ideal, and as Saunders puts it, “reality always wins.” Educators tend to have a bent towards the ideal, and in doing so, we lose sight of what is real. Plan with reality in mind – who are your real students (not the ones you imagine)? How much time do you really have (not how much time do you wish you had )? What is really worth knowing and doing? Decide what is essential – less is more. When we put the less is more principle into practice we can make wise time investments that bring playful learning yields. We leave room for learners to have the time to play, explore and inquire. We model prioritization for our students – a pretty necessary skill in today’s fast paced, time challenged world.

3. Habit Patterns Rule. Establishing routines and systems creates stability and security. When you feel stable and secure, fear is replaced by playfulness. One thing I’ve learned is that kids thrive on routines – not rigid routines, but consistent and predictable routines.  Predictability creates the space to for spontaneity. Spontaneity invites inquiry. Inquiry invites motivation. Motivation invites learning. Learning invites growth…  Habit patterns also enable us to make informed choices when setting priorities. (See #2) How often do we “fly by the seat of our pants” in the classroom? When there is a lack of routine, we lose sight of priorities, and we are right back in the trenches fighting the war against time.

Our relationship with time has significant impacts on how we approach every aspect of teaching and learning, from deciding which learning outcomes will have the highest priority, to how much time learners will need to spend on a task or engage in a learning opportunity, to how much room there is for students to engage in inquiry and reflection. If we are hurried, our students will feel hurried. If we are weary, our students will feel weary. If we are playful, then our students will feel playful. How will you invest your time, so that the learners in your classroom will see the value of how they invest theirs?

For more information on the work of Elizabeth Saunders, visit http://www.reallifee.com/

Connected Educators: Beyond Wires

I Think, Therefore I BLOG - (Being Normal is n...

In honour of Connected Educator’s Month and Canadian Thanksgiving, this blog post celebrates and explores why I am grateful to be a “connected educator“. Being a connected educator means many different things to me. Yes, it means that I am an educator/administrator who appreciates the role technology plays in enhancing learning. That to me is the literal part – connecting to technology with screens, wires, networks, apps, platforms, google searches, etc. But, that literal part is just one small  piece. Being a connected educator means being connected to other educators who are also open to sharing and learning from the wisdom of practise that comes from educators and thought leaders from around the globe. Being a connected educator means I value growing as a professional beyond the literal walls of the school where I work or the physical workshops I attend or the books that I read. As a connected educator I want to take ownership of my own ongoing growth and professional practise by connecting into a limitless pool of learning that comes from other people who share my passion for learning, leadership and personal/professional growth.

In the 18 months since I officially became a connected educator by joining twitter and starting this blog, I’ve “met” so many amazing people. While I have a small sense of what they look like through their posted photo and I know their name or moniker, I’ve never shaken their hand, made eye-contact with them or even exchanged the “how’s the weather?” niceties that come with a first face-to-face meeting or workshop icebreaker activity. All that is done away with in the connected educator world. No getting to you know you period required; that’s what the “about” page is for! The second I made  choice to “follow” or “subscribe” I became connected to another educator because something about their experiences, understanding, philosophy, perspective or practise either resonated with or challenged/provoked me. I may not know how many sugars or how much cream they like in their coffee (I myself am a double-double Canuck coffee drinker), but by reading their words, whether a short and sweet tweet, or a more detailed blog post, I have come to know what motivates them professionally, and I believe, by default also personally because so many of us wear our professional hearts on our sleeves. I know they care deeply about their role in learning because their words move me to act. I know that they challenge my assumptions and provoke my thinking and inspire me to reflect on my own learning journey and areas where I can grow.

Being a connected educator also means you are a risk-taker yourself by giving back to the connected community. Connected educators support each other because we have a deep appreciation for the value of learning and best-practise pedagogy. We know that relationships matter to learning. We know that theory is just theory unless it is put into practise. We try new things in the name of this and we are compelled to reflect as a result. Even though we’ve never “met” we get to know each other so well through the digital window into each other’s classrooms and learning spaces! Receiving a re-tweet, a comment, a new follow, a favourite, a pingback, etc. lets us know that we are making a contribution and that somewhere else in the world someone else connected with what we put out there. It’s not about the numbers or the status – it really is about knowing that you share a commonality with another educator in the name of learning.

Being a connected educator also means you have choice. You can choose how much or how little to engage. I myself stick with twitter, blogs, wikis and the occasional use of Pinterest. That’s what I can comfortably manage without feeling overwhelmed by too much information. I have my own “Twitter Thursdays”, a day of the week where I devote my train commute to school to learning through twitter posts. The connected educator is in control of every last detail of their learning – the who, the when, the where, the how, the what and the why. You can access and/or give as much or as little as you choose – what other PD offers you that?

I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to the educators and thought leaders who continue to inspire me because we are “connected”. My connected community continues to expand, which is a sure sign that I am growing as I learn from others, and hope that others might learn something from me in return.

Teacher or Learning Architect?

“I think…”, “I feel like …”, “Try this…”, “It sounds like…”, “I’m not sure how exactly to describe it, but it’s like…”, “Ahhh…”, “I’m not sure…”, “There has to be…”, “It is…but it isn’t…”, “It’s not…”, “How do you…?”, “I think you are right…”, “What do you think…?”, “We need to think about it in a different way…”, “Can we…?”, “Is that because…?”, “Ohhhh!”, “Ooooo…”  ….

All of the above statements are the inquiry utterances of a group of adult learners engaging in inquiry learning at a recent inquiry based learning workshop that I had the opportunity to facilitate. One of the biggest misconceptions about inquiry based learning is that it is only about asking questions and finding answers. Go back and read the list of utterances again. Inquiry is so much more than asking questions and seeking answers.

Kathy Short put it best when she described inquiry as both a stance and a state of tension. When I share this definition of inquiry with adult learners, they often ask, “but what do stance and tension really mean?”

According to dictionary.com, the second definition they provide for stance is: a mental or emotional position adopted with respect to something. So, inquiry is a mental or emotional position we adopt with respect to learning. Inquiry tension lies in the mental or emotional position of the stance. When we think, feel or believe we have to figure something out, or find out the truth by either confirming something we already believe to be true or dis-confirming something we’ve assumed to be true, or figuring out something that is totally new, we are activating the inquiry stance. As educators, it is our role to be the inquiry architects as we take learners on a journey through an inquiry cycle (there are many! just pick one or make your own hybrid!). Many times I hear other educators lament, “but they just don’t ask questions. How do I get them to ask questions?” Therein lies our first mistake. When we limit the inquiry stance to just asking questions, we limit the potential for meaningful and contextualized inquiry stance learning. Take a step back and really listen to what the learners in your classroom are saying. If you don’t hear anything, then perhaps the flaw lies in the designer and not the learner. Inquiry begs us to examine and challenge our own beliefs and assumptions (our own mental and emotional position) about teaching and learning. Do we see ourselves as teacher or as learning architect? 

Action IS Caring

This year I introduced an action mascot and slogan as a part of our focus on action FOR and FROM learning. Meet Care Bear. Care Bear arrived at our first assembly and shared the story, “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” Care Bear then challenged all of our students to a year of showing caring through daily acts of caring and kindness. Care Bear invited students to fill her bucket with hearts all year. Care Bear’s big silver bucket is in a location that is accessible to all students. Students are encouraged to record daily acts of caring that are done to them or that they observe on pink hearts and drop them in Care Bear’s bucket. Each week at assembly during our weekly action update, Care Bear shares hearts from her bucket to honour daily acts of caring and kindness. Acts of kindess range from: including friends in games and play, holding doors for others, sharing supplies, giving hugs, telling jokes to make others laugh, helping to clean up, etc.

Care Bear and her bucket.
Care Bear and her bucket.

Care Bear also spends time visiting each class for a week. Students are loving taking Care Bear with them around the school, on field trips and to special events and showing her how kind and caring they can be where ever they go. Many classes have created Animoto’s to share at assemblies to highlight Care Bear’s experience in their class; another class wrote a song about being a Care Bear that is now Care Bear’s jingle and sung each week at assembly; our SK class made a video about bullying and stopping it by showing caring; while others add little embellishments to her that represent something special that happened with Care Bear while in their class during the week. Parents stop and tell me that at home students are talking about Care Bear and teaching siblings about bucket filling. One dad described how he overheard his daughters having a disagreement

Care Bear's Bucket is filling with hearts!
Care Bear’s Bucket is filling with hearts!

and one of them announced, “You’re not filling my bucket. We need to be more caring!” Much to his surprise, the argument stopped and they moved on to something more positive.

Recently, students completed Learner Profile reflections that go home with their report cards. I was so inspired so inspired to see even our littlest JKs reflecting on the importance being caring. Here is an example of what one 4 year old expressed: “Care Bear came to our classroom to be caring. Caring is when you are nice. I am caring when I play. If I am playing dolls I am caring when I talk to my friend in a nice way and say, “Can I have that after you?”

A Grade 1 student's Care Bear inspired goal!
A Grade 1 student’s Care Bear 

The way that students are embracing Care Bear’s challenge far exceeds my initial vision. Care Bear has garnered rock star status at our school – no doubt because caring ROCKS!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CARE BEAR SONG (by Grade 2)

Be a care bear

And say “let’s play”

Be a care bear

Again another day

First you, then me

Now two, then three

Be a care bear

And say “let’s play!

Be a care bear

Lend a helping hand

Be a care bear

Work with a friend

I’ll share with you

I’ll be there for you

Be a care bear

Lend a helping hand!

Be a care bear

Comfort someone sad

Be a care bear

Make sure they don’t feel bad

Hold hands, give a hug

Stay close, feel snug

Be a care bear!

Comfort someone sad!

Big lessons from little learners

“Children are learning about big ideas but they are also finding out about themselves and others in their community. ” (Jo Fahey, p. 27)

I’ve been spending some time reading through Jo Fahey’s recently released book, Ways to Learn Through Inquiry: Guiding Children to Deeper Understanding and reflecting on inquiry in the early years. It’s reminded me that we have so much to learn from the littlest inquirers in our schools. They come at inquiry from a place if pure openness. They don’t worry about saying what they think as they explore; they just say whatever comes to mind as they construct meaning, sort out differences and confirm or discredit their assumptions about the world, themselves and each other. It was timely that I happened to be observing in an SK classroom very recently. What I saw and heard brought the pages of Fahey’s book to life for me.
The teacher had planned a preparing provocation to have learners connect with their new unit of inquiry exploring the concept of shelters. The learning engagement involved learners working in small groups to explore, sort and categorize a collection of images (depicting various types of shelters, homes and habitats). The criteria for the task was that each group needed to work as a team to agree on how to sort the images into groups and then name their groupings. Students quickly set off, pouring over the images. I was very curious to see what each group would decide and how they would go about getting there. As I wandered the room kid watching, I happened upon the following exchange, as a group of students began to sort their images as “structures” and “not structures”:
A: This is not a structure. (Holds up a picture of a coral reef.)
B: How do you know?
A: Because no one put it there.
B: Well then who put it there?
A: I don’t know but it’s just there. No one built it.
B: What about the tree? (Holds up image of a tree.)
A: The bird did it.
B: Birds don’t make trees.
A: But they build in them.

Later on in the lesson, students shared their sorting categories with each other and discussed why they chose to label them as they did. When the group including the two students who had the above exchange shared, their sort still included two categories: structures and not structures. As the students went on to define their categories they indicated that images were “not structures because no one decided what they would look like.” Those pictures included in the structures category were there “because they’re not built out of the same things. Someone put them there and people live in them and some are for animals.”

The dialogue between these students and the level of thinking amongst them was so rich with inquiry. By the end of the lesson the students had a theory and a definition to begin developing their inquiry into the concept from. They were already engaged in the process of attending to differences right from the onset of the inquiry as they sorted, classified and reached consensus.
After reflecting on the lesson with the teacher afterwards, we both agreed that while the learners made some significant connections, they also had some misconceptions that could be further tended to through the inquiry process. While no direct question was asked of the teacher, several avenues for deeper inquiry were apparent and could be explored further:
– the idea that a shelter is only a built structure
– an inquiry into how coral reefs are made and how they do or do not provide shelter
-man made shelters vs. natural shelters
-shelters for people vs. shelters for animals
The possibilities could go on! And that’s the point. Providing constructs to facilitate inquiry leads to infinite possibilities for learning. The hardest part is getting out of the way and taking the time to learn from the learner – even the littlest learners!

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Thirteen Tips to Start the School Year Strong

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Back to School!

In these parts, the new school year is upon us. It is a time of excitement, anticipation, and above all, a time when setting the tone can make or break the next 10 months of your life. Starting the school year off “strong” takes a little more effort on the outset, but the benefits in doing so pay off in dividends throughout the school year. Here are my top 13 tips to start the year off strong – tips I’ve learned along the way from great administrators, educators and from my own experiences as a teacher and administrator:

  1. Create a variety of opportunities and engagements that will allow for your students to make meaningful connections with you and their classmates over the first days, and then continue this throughout the year. Send a communication (e-mail or letter) to students sharing some info. about yourself and things you did and learned over the summer. Share your hopes and goals for the school year and let them know you are both excited and nervous for the first day of school, too. Use the morning arrival time as “connection time”. (When I was in the classroom students had to give me a high five, a knuckles or a handshake before they could start the day.) Talk to your students about their lives outside of school. Connecting meaningfully with students builds trust!
  2. Schedule time to explicitly go over expectations, procedures and routines on the first day and over the first few weeks of school. Continue to practice and reinforce these on a regular basis until they are habit. (This may involve lots of “do-overs”.) Consistency with follow through is key to ensuring expectations and procedures are sustained throughout the year! If you are consistent, your students will respect you and strive to be consistent too! Essential agreements are also very effective for establishing classroom norms too (e.g. cooperation and what it looks, sounds, feels like; friendship, etc.).
  3. Give your students a voice by involving them in establishing essential agreements, procedures, routines and even some set up of the room. Ensure expectations and agreements are clear (e.g. We agree to respect each other. Respect looks like.. sounds like…feels like….). Prominently display them in age appropriate and student-driven ways to foster ownership. Plan to make time to review these many times over the year to ensure students understand and uphold them; refer to them regularly for redirection and praise students who diligently put the effort in to put them into action. Modify them as needed throughout the year to honour academic, social and emotional growth.
  4. Be the first to make first contact with parents; introduce yourself to parents before they introduce themselves to you. Send out a welcome e-mail (separate from any communication with students) and be the first to introduce yourself and shake their hand as they arrive with their child over the first days of school. If an issue arises during the school day, contact the parent before they pick their child up if possible so the parent is not blind-sided and can prepare to support their child. Make sure that you share positive news with parents too so that they know that hearing from the teacher isn’t just about the “bad and the ugly” but also about the “good”.
  5. Be responsive! Keep communication with parents, students and colleagues open and honest. Base your communication on what you know to be true and not on what you might assume (facts vs. inferences). Respond to parent contact or concerns in a timely manner, with the goal of response over reaction (do your detective work, or find out what you need to know before responding). If a parent seems frustrated or angry – do not use e-mail to communicate (even if they e-mailed first!). Take the extra bit of time to make human contact – it will help to alleviate the situation and most likely prevent it from escalating. The “human factor” trumps everything!
  6. Make the time for students to play games and have “silly” time in class. Observe how they interact, follow rules, share, take turns, laugh, etc.
  7. Build in time for mindfulness (e.g. deep breathing) or short physical breaks, especially where students are in the same space/with the same teacher for an extended period of time. Activity is not just for PE class! One of my favourites (and of my former students) was body wrestling. (Send me a message and I will describe!)
  8. Establish and commit to holding regular classroom meetings/communication circles. Not only is this a great time for group problem solving and bringing to light social issues or concerns, but also an opportunity to appreciate and celebrate each other.
  9. No matter what grade level, use picture books to support learning, stimulate discussion, enjoy some down time together, be inspired, imagine, wonder, and connect.
  10. Focus on effort, not achievement. Use clear criteria to set students up for success. Use the action cycle as a reflective framework for looking back, being “present” and planning forward.
  11. Be explicit; assume nothing!
  12. Being a teacher is 99% marketing! Sell your curriculum to your students everyday. If you are excited, they will be too! Brand your classroom to create a unique/distinct identify for your community of learners.
  13. Create a culture of inquiry in everything you do. Embrace opportunities to inquire alongside your students. For students to become effective inquirers, they need to see the adults in their world inquire and wonder, too!

What are your tips to start the year “strong?” Feel free to add to this list!

Learning “INexperience”…from lemons to lemonade!

Summer is here in this part of the world and with it comes heat, and heat brings thirst. What better way than to quench your thirst with a nice, cold glass of lemonade. This is what my 9 year old twins decided about a week ago. They have toyed with the idea of opening a lemonade stand for the last few summers but it never quite came to fruition. Well, during my absence from home at the start of the week they opened a lemonade stand, and I am in awe of the learning that is happening as they independently follow through with and implement their plan. They are learning “IN experience”, which is really what the heart of inquiry based learning is all about. It’s kind of ironic that learning “IN experience” can also be read as “learning inexperience”. Both statements are true to inquiry – inquiry is all about taking on the unknown and making it into a known – both “inexperience” and “IN experience”.

The kids started with an idea, prepared a plan and took action: they researched the cost of lemons and the other ingredients they would need, they came up with their lemonade recipe (the best I’ve ever had!), they made a marketing plan, gathered supplies, and then they set to work. In implementing their plan, they’ve learned what it means to break even, make a profit and take a loss; the importance of counting your money just right; they’ve learned about supply and demand, and quality control; ways to drum up business when it is slow, and what it means to have a slow business day. Best of all, they’ve learned team work as they’ve relied on each other and the two neighborhood friends who’ve set up an iced tea business along with them. None of this learning happened at a desk or under the carefully structured school learning environment. It happened because they had an idea, worked through their own inexperience IN experience by choosing, acting and reflecting. All along the way they continue to make decisions about their lemonade business to improve and grow it. The best thing of all is that I have had absolutely nothing to do with this little learning venture except to buy myself a glass of lemonade and toast the success of their endeavour. So what do you do when life throws you lemons? …Make lemonade of course! Thanks kids!