Two months ago I began reading The Writing on the Classroom Wall by Steve Wyborney.
Wait. Let me back up a bit… Two and a half months ago I had the opportunity to witness Steve Wyborney communicate via FaceTime with one of my 3rd grade educators and her class. Later that day I ordered TWOTCW because of how he interacted with those kids. The conversation was supposed to be via Skype, but due to technological difficulties, we migrated to the educator’s cell phone. Steve was so patient. At one point he wrote notes and held them up to the camera when we couldn’t hear him. The content of the conversation that day with the kids was important (it was about SPLAT Math), but the message he sent in his kind voice, welcoming language, and genuine love of learning was so memorable I knew I wanted to learn more from him.
As I read TWOTCW I made notes (sketchnotes) of the Big Ideas. My sketchnotes represent what images come to mind when I read. What words stand out. What colors inspire thought.
On every page I included the same central image – inspired by the book’s introduction. Steve challenges us to connect with others, to take risks, to share ideas. As I completed each page of notes, I shared them via Twitter. Write(sketch), reflect, share. Wash, rinse, repeat.
On every page I also included a lightening bolt. More to come on that.
Now for my first Big Idea.
It hit me like a slow bolt of lightening. (There’s the image.)
Learning is not paced.
Sometimes moments of clarity come in rapid succession and sometimes they come few and far between. Sometimes we seek understanding as the answer to a question or the solution to a problem. Sometimes understanding leaps out of the page in front of us without prompting, like a pleasant surprise we didn’t expect. But usually, understanding comes after much contemplation.
This is why we should write, reflect, and share. If we are in the habit of capturing our learning and documenting it, we will be on the lookout for new understanding as content to write about – whether this happens once per day (as if we can be that lucky!) or once in a while.
So, learning does not occur like clockwork. Wake up, it’s 12:00, time to have a profound thought. No. Learning is not paced. It is not a box to be checked every 400 meters as you pass the starting line. It is, though, something to celebrate as forward progress occurs – maybe inches at a time, but inches no less.
Let the journey begin.