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CMK16 Wrap-up: Finding our People

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The Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute wrapped up two days ago. I'm back home in Barrie with my family, happy to have had a day to rest and reflect before writing this post.

Thursday afternoon (day 3) we were treated to a panel discussion with Gary Stager, Carla Rinaldi, and Edith Ackermann. It wasn't easy to draw everyone away form their projects, but it was worth stopping for an hour to spend more time thinking deeply about students and their learning experiences. We were treated to some more beautiful examples of documentation, in particular a series of photos illustrating the iteration that took place when students tried to draw people playing 'Ring Around the Rosie;' not a trivial task and rich with evidence of student learning. Documentation, learning as a group, iteration, playfulness, and caring were at the forefront of the discussion. You can read tweets from attendees here.

After a break for dinner, we were all invited to return to our project wo…

CMK16 Days 2 and 3: Finding our part in the Big Picture

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It's the afternoon of day 3 at the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. Yesterday was a whirlwind of learning and inspiration. I'll do my best to capture some highlights.

After a short work session in the morning, during which our groups were able to meet up and decide on some next steps, we were treated to an inspirational talk given by Carla Rinaldi, president of Reggio Children and of the Reggio Children - Loris Malaguzzi Centre Foundation. It is difficult to use words to capture the depth of insight and emotion that she shared with us, but here is a short collection of tweets from attendees. (I would highly recommend that you read and/or listen to her thinking; here is a video summarizing her thoughts on 'reclaiming childhood.')

My background in teaching is as a secondary Science teacher, but every word of Dr. Rinaldi's talk resonated with both the teacher and the mother in me. Science is all about wonder and discovery, and I have seen in my practic…

CMK16 Day One: Putting On Our Learner Hats

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Today is the first day of the 2016 Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. This is a four-day conference where educators work collaboratively on creative projects with the mentorship of thought leaders and experts who champion and embody the maker movement. Our first day began with an introduction by Dr. Gary Stager, who encouraged all of us to take off our teacher hats and put on our learner hats. I liked the reference he made to 'mouth down' frustration vs. 'mouth up' frustration. He did a wonderful job explaining the philosophy of the institute and helped us to understand the huge amount of expertise and experience present with us in the room.

The next part of our morning was an EdCamp-style process of idea generation for potential projects. The variety of ideas was stunning, and I put my name next to quite a few before deciding to join the 'Weasley Clock Project.'



If you are unfamiliar with the Weasley Family clock, it is a whimsical clock that han…