By the calendar, epiphany has ended. On this 12th day of January, though, we Atlantans just experienced our third snow day…SCHOOL IS CLOSED! Already, as a principal of a middle school, I am receiving texts, tweets, and emails asking, “When will we return?,” “Will we make up these missed days?,” “Could the make-up days interfere with our family vacations?,” “Can your teachers send some homework for my kids to do?” I actually received more than one message posing this last question. When I tweeted about this parental request, I received this immediate reply:
Of course, not all parents have forgotten that learning starts with curiosity and interest. Could it really be possible that even a few have forgotten? While I have never met @dcinc66, he is a member of my PLN, and I believe he has a valid point.
Another member of my PLN is my oldest son, PJ. During our third snow day this week, PJ insisted that we build a robot. After watching the 1980s classic (at least to me) Short Circuit, PJ began saving kleenex boxes, old food boxes, toilet paper rolls, and any other discarded piece of trash that looked like a robot part to him. Today, PJ made it clear that it was prime time to put his corrogated collection to good use. PJ’s brother JT entered the fray, and we three Adams boys felt transported to the robo-lab.
Learning is the hallmark of humanity. When I feel most engaged, I am learning. When PJ and JT are most engaged, they are learning. For me, epiphany continued today. PJ reminded me that learning most often looks like a project. The best learning happens when we choose to explore and discover.
After our robot skeleton was complete, PJ and JT became interested in heartbeats. After all, in Short Circuit, Number 5 was alive! With a stethescope, we measured our heart rate at rest and after a few laps around the house. A fourth snow day was just announced. Tomorrow, I will not be surprised if the boys ask to shock the kleenex boxes to see if we can jolt Number 6 to life. I think they just assigned themselves their own homework.
Bo Adams serves as principal teacher for the Junior High at The Westminster Schools, in Atlanta, GA. First and foremost, he considers himself a dad. Close behind on the list, he thinks of himself as a “learner-preneur.”