Tag Archives: learning

In-depth Week 8

We are almost half way with in-depth projects before our celebration evening on May 30th. In addition to the mentoring aspect, the emphasis is on the process more so than the final project.  What skills are we learning?  How does this project offer us insights into ourselves? While writing our blogs every two weeks, we are reflecting on our learning along the way, our struggles and triumphs and what is ahead of us yet to be discovered.

We tell our learners that we learn the most when things are challenging.  No exception for me this week. My dissertation has taken another detour; therefore, no time to learn to embed technology into my post this week. 

However, Mr. Jackson has set up a math wiki and science wiki for our classes.  As soon as my own studies are back on track, I will return to my previous goal, stated in week 6. We tried to tape my math “lesson” yesterday because a student was going to be away and thought it would be helpful to post this lesson for her viewing at home later. This was a first for me. It was fun. I joked with the class about being self-conscious about what to wear, making sure there were no stains on my clothes, for example.  Not sure why it mattered now, because I never pay much attention to that sort of thing!

It is interesting how we sometimes think about the little things that may get in the way.  I know the little things do not really matter, in most cases.  “Don’t sweat the small stuff: can be heard in our room.

In Talons, we do not use the more traditional, teacher-centered way of instruction for long periods of time and only when absolutely necessary.  At times, direct teaching is an opportunity for teachers to scaffold the Talons’ learning, to preview challenging concepts, to extend the lesson (add tangents!), to raise awareness of the applications of math whenever possible, and to clarify common conceptual errors.  None of these processes are written or highlighted in the workbook pages. We frequently condense three, four or even five lessons in a  30-40 miniature lecture followed by several days of independent and quad study to grasp the briefly taught concepts.

This facilitation approach is similar to the in-depth approach.  The learner meets with a mentor when needed, learns a new skill or sub skill, practises the skill at home and returns next time for feedback and so it continues.

Interested in learning alongside one of our learners? Check out the following blogs:

Immy is being resourceful in her own community, collecting natural objects to be turned into paints!

Sara is learning how to draw and paint. Check out her photos.

Megan is learning to use the potter’s wheel and to play with clay.  Check out her photos posted two weeks ago.

Iris is learning to play the guitar.  Listen to her song.

Jenna is exploring photography.  Check out her posted photos.

Toren has finally found a mentor and is trying to contact two other experts on music composition in our Tri-Cities.

Liam is practising using a sword and much more.  His PE classes are paying off as well!

Jason’s vegetable/fruit carving classes are helping him to discover art.  Check out his latest successes.

Stephanie is learning Latin/ Greek prefixes, roots and suffixes and is volunteering regularly at a medical clinic.

Veronica’s vocal classes are described vivid detail.

See you in two weeks.

My own studies need my attention.

PS: A public note of encouragement for Talons learners. Your “This I believe” essays received constructive criticism this week. They were chopped, bits deleted and sometimes entirely new essays were written.  It is my turn this weekend to begin to rewrite mine.  Writing is hard, as is almost everything else, if you want to learn to do  it well. 

Keep practising your in-depth skills.  When your skill matches your challenge, you will have an optimal experience or be in the zone!

This is another example that we are in this together. We are learning alongside of each other.  There are no boundaries for learning, our new district’s vision!

Keep enjoying every learning moment, no matter how hard it gets.


In-depth week 6

Talons learners have just completed week six of their in-depth projects.  They report and reflect on their progress every two weeks. Many recent posts provide the reader with great insight into what we are learning and what we are struggling with.  As we say often in our program, we learn the most when we challenge ourselves. By navigating through these challenges, we become more effective and enriched learners, getting to know ourselves a little more each time.  Our in-depths projects immerse us in one of our passions for a prolonged period of time, not frequently seen in secondary school.

If you have not already figured it out, my in-depth is learning more about technology, especially blogging.  As “teachers” of Talons, we role-model or learn alongside of our program’s participants. In today’s blog, I am trying to figure out how to insert hyperlinks. Inspired by a recent professional development day keynote speaker, Ross Laird, we know technology is here and our youth know how to use it well.  See his website for more informative articles and posts.

He claims that many parents have not adopted the technology that their children are using, so it is up to us, the educators, to become  the learner’s mentors. Learners can access any subject’s content online anywhere and any time. Thus, an educator’s role is shifting from being a lecturer to being a mentor. We support the development of the whole child in Talons and that includes their social and emotional development as well as their intellectual development.

Our in-depth project is all about mentorship, learning alongside an expert and focusing more on skills than content that can just be read in a book or online.  The Talons learner focuses on practical knowledge as well as propositional knowledge, especially during their in-depth.  Learning alongside the other, like an apprentice and master, also provides opportunities for wisdom and intuitive knowledge to be shared during the process.

So with some trepidation I enter the blogging world.  I support Chet Bowers’ work when addressing the negative side of technology in his book, called Let Them Eat Data. For example, he warns us about the loss of local, ecological knowledge.  This local knowledge is often not accessible online; however, it may be a critical piece to the community’s way of living and survival.  

Another author, Bill McKibben dispells the notion that this generation is better informed in his book, called The Age of Missing Information. His argument supports the notion that being outdoors in nature provides us with direct experiences filled with information that no television can provide. He concludes that less is more.  The timing of my thesis is just perfect (more about that another time!).

Technology is here and it is not going to go away any time soon.  How do we balance the use of techonology in schools with all the other worthwhile learning opportunities?

Talons learners explore their passions for learning in their blogs.  I will highlight some of them below and share others in my subsequent blogs.

Learning how to play the guitar is exemplified by Conrad’s blog. Follow his blogs and you can get some awesome instructions!

Becoming more flexible is explored in Chelsea’s blog. She shows us how one can become more flexible as we follow her 30 day flexiblity program.

 Owen’s Blog reports his learning while programming robots. Videos of his robot moving about show us how challenging programming can be.

 Andrew’s blog reflects on his progress in writing HTML code. His latest reflection #3 tells us more about life while learning HTML code in the process.

While dancing through life, Kelly’s blogs reveal her path of self-exploration, giving us a glimpse of what it is like to live and learn every day.

Jennifer S. explores the wilderness using several different modes of transportation. Her tips and travels are revealing a journey that is bigger than just being outdoors, following trails.

Also, trying to become more environmentally conscious, Jennifer A. is trying to reduce her ecological footprint. She shares her suggestions that reduce our impact on this earth.

And lastly for now, how about writing a Shakespearan play using his writing style. Leanne’s blog  illustrates that her passion is worth exploring more and more deeply as well. She is immersing herself in a personal experience that brings together her interests and skills for writing.

And so another blog has been posted.  The links work! My next goal is to learn to embed technology. Be back in two weeks with another in-depth update.

Quirien Mulder ten Kate

Talons Program Mentor

This I Believe Today

I believe in so much that it is hard for me to choose just a few words.  I love the notion of voluntary simplicity. The more we do with less the better.  Is it just doing less? Is it just feeling more and just being?  We make matters more complicated than they need to be. We lose sight of what really matters.  Living happily is my vision. What if we live everyday to the best of our ability and do as much good as possible?  We live our lives to the fullest, not separating but merging as many aspects as possible.  Making fewer distinctions and separations allows me to live life meaningfully and passionately.  There is meaning in it all. I may not know it all yet and may never know it, but trusting that it is there.  Trusting my instincts and being intuitive enable me to see the good in most things and continue to move forward, taking many with me on the same path. At the same time, I let others pass through or cross my path or run passed me.  So, live life to the fullest with its bumps and bruises along the way.  Learning occurs when we have to struggle the most. Experience has taught me that there is always going to be a way out or beyond it.  It may take longer sometimes; however, it is all worth it in the end.


My pledge

I vow to live according to as many voluntary simplicity principles as possible.  I vow to be the best I can be and to do the best I can do.  I strive for happiness and be there for others whenever I can. I will take care of as many relationships as possible in the human and nonhuman world.  I will change the “ I” to “we” whenever I can.