Nerd Day is coming to our school, a chance to dress up and have a little fun for students and teachers. I joked with Celina that we are often thought of as total nerds when it comes to professional learning. We often spout favorite sites (www.choiceliteracy.com, www.wonderopolis.com), blogs (see sidebar) and books we are reading (the latest being 21st Century Skills Rethinking How Students Learn by Bellanca and Brandt 2010). We find things to share with our students and colleagues continually, and we keep asking for and googling new information. We are lifelong learners, we are passionate about teaching, we want to do and be the best for the students within our care. Everyday is an opportunity to connect with kids and open the door of learning with them. "Imagine what we might learn." "What do you wonder?" and "This is so cool!" are often mantras within our room in an effort to help kids continually expand their thinking.
We talk a lot about how we are learners within the classroom too. We thank them for being our teachers and most recently asked the class to give us an assessment based on our performance as their teachers. What were we doing well? What did we need to improve on? What a crack-up! Some of them want harder homework, more art projects, more time to read or do math. Some of them are more concerned with getting to recess on time! What this did for us was to open a dialogue about homework, push us into thinking of even more ways to integrate art into our content areas, and encourage us to streamline our processes to enable more time for their content learning. It even inspired me to consider buying a watch!
As I sat down with my last conference yesterday and the student opened his notebook to a highlight of the first trimester, I was reminded that being a NERD is great. He stopped in the middle of his explanation to flip to the page we had just reflected on, a thought provoking discussion of what a googol is from www.wonderopolis.com (Wonder #411). His eyes lit up, his voice got louder and he began rapidly explaining to his mom the fascinating idea that if all the matter in the world were turned into paper there would not be enough to write out all the zeros in a googolplex.
So while some will celebrate Nerd Day next week, some of us will continue to celebrate it EVERY DAY!