Sunday, August 14, 2011

What If School Was More Like This?

I ran across this video a couple of weeks ago and it has been rolling around my head ever since.  I love its wordless, captivating, 75 second message - it's been the perfect accelerant to the cognitive kindling I've been trying to spark for weeks now.  As summer officially draws to a close for me this week, I've been trying to light a fire under the mountain of to-do lists that I keep making for myself, and I think this might just be what the doctor ordered.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Every time I watch it, I think... "what if school was more like this?" What if?

What if every time we created an environment/opportunity for students we were guided by the desire to make magic; to create an experience our students will never forget; to create learning that is:
  • active
  • participatory
  • messy
  • inquisitive
  • authentic
  • joyful

 What if?

Obviously, we can't travel the 38 thousand miles, or to the 11 countries, it took to create this video as we tackle a new year with our students.  And clearly, it's tough to make magic on a fixed schedule, with no assistant, no budget and [insert obstacle here]. But, frankly, the alternative strikes me as quite a bit harder to swallow.

When I was a first year teacher, my mentor teacher asked me what I thought about giving my students the opportunity to veer away from the whole class novel in favor of choosing their own reading.  I can remember distinctly sitting on the sofa in the back of my room and saying, "I don't think I can do that."  Without judgement, she simply said, "Ok. Let's talk about what you can do, then."  It would be years before I got to the point where I could give up a prescribed common text, but her wisdom has stuck with me.

Recently, Buffy Hamilton has been speaking and writing about enchantment as a force for learning in the library and I believe this a branch from that same tree.  Her message of tapping into student passions as a means of fueling learning is one that resonates deeply with me.  That said, while I may not be able to make every learning experience look like the ones in the video or fill every lesson with enchantment, I'm definitely ready to start thinking about what I can do.


  1. Fabulous video to start off the school year; and to be played during the year to remind us of the joy of learning; those ah ha moments of awareness, wonder, self-discovery, inquiry, and pursuit.

  2. Awesome video, thanks for sharing.

    And an important idea to remember to do what we *can* do even when we can't do it ALL. I know I tend to get in my own way (or work myself to burnout) wanting to do something perfectly or not at all. It's important to remember that there are a lot of steps between where I am and where I want to be, and that all of those steps have value, too (if only because they get me closer to my goal).

  3. This is a video that you think is "cool" at first, but then when you process it, you think, "hmmmm, how can I inspire that natural curiosity in what I/we teach?" I love this kind of video, and I would not have come across it except for following Jennifer on Twitter. Thanks.