Environment Ideas


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As our children get older we seem to grow more concerned about our ability to “teach them” all that they need to know.  A word of wisdom…we don’t have to!  We provide opportunities and they take it from there.  As much as we would like to think that we can cram information in and it will automatically stick…..it won’t – at least not all of it.  Some of it will, as it resonates with their talents and interests.  We are not failures because our kids find our “lesson plans” boring. We simply move on until we find what speaks to them. They don’t know exactly what will strike a chord either – but they’ll know it when they find it.

In our Aspen Cooperative we provide environments where students come together to learn from history or science or literature….It’s easy to see that some of the children like one aspect of history while others find it dull. However, as we experiment, we always find something that speaks to each individual. Some of our students like to do crossword puzzles, others really don’t! It seems that the best way to pull everyone in is through activity and conversation.

Last week we began talking about Christopher Columbus. He taught us some valuable lessons, such as heading into, “uncharted waters.” He also set an example of leadership and courage. We went outside to practice leadership by blindfolding one very brave student and asking them to follow the directions of another. We later sat down to talk about the characteristics needed to be a great leader, and a courageous follower. It was an eye-opening experience! (No pun intended.)

Some of the comments:

I liked how they communicated in a way that was clear for me to understand.

I liked that they used directions: North, East…

I got confused when they used degrees

It helped when they stood beside me and encouraged me

I was glad that they were patient and didn’t get annoyed

I needed a more clear picture of where I was going

We all had time to reflect on what makes an effective leader and how we can be better at leadership. It was a history lesson made wonderful because of the kids and their desire to  apply it to their own lives – and that’s about as good as it gets!



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