The Circle of Li . . .
Learning – PBL Part 6ish

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Not so much.

My daughter enjoys art. Her favorite activity is drawing! She is not a writer. Although I enjoy writing, I am no scholar. Still, writing gives me freedom of expression. Thanks to some great coaching, I have allowed myself to stretch the limits of my writing. Am I getting better? Maybe . . . but I still enjoy the freedom it gives me.

My daughter is not a writer. She can write, but the process does not come easily. Generating ideas and putting thoughts on paper is a scary and difficult process. In fact, the process can be intimidating. It can be so intimidating that she will start to cry. I want to be the superhero (dad) and save her from this humiliating experience. I will try. This article reflects on that process.

Circles and more circles.

“For personal growth to take place, we need to add to the question-answer circle.”

I heard something somewhere about the circle of life. I have not found it. However, I have found the circle of learning. It looks something like this.

Questions and answers are the core to learning. In my first article on project-based learning, I talked about the probing question: Why is the sky blue? At a young age, we are naturally inquisitive. At a certain point, the inquisitive nature goes away. As educators, we need to reignite inquisitiveness in our youth. Maybe we need to start asking more questions.

For personal growth to take place, we need to add to the question-answer circle. We need a bridge between questions and answers. That bridge is discovery. When we engage in learning, we do more than just answer a question. We discover hidden secrets about the world around us. We also discover some things about ourselves. The learning circle grows larger.

As posed by my daughter’s teacher, the probing statement for this writing assignment was: My favorite time of year is _______________. Kaylynn quickly responded to this fill-in-the-blank statement: Autumn!

Image by Chuck Underwood from Pixabay
Image by klimkin from Pixabay

But now what?

“…we often get stuck as to “what to write”…

Now she had to craft a four-paragraph essay explaining why her favorite season was Autumn. This is where the frustration kicked in. And this is where I came to the rescue (I hope). To get the creative energies flowing, we often get stuck as to “what to write”. I think this is because we want answers before we know what the questions are. That meant I had to create some questions to allow her to think about her favorite time of year.

My list of questions.

“Now that she had thinking points…”

  1. What calendar months are in this season?
  2. What is the weather like?
  3. What types of clothes do I wear?
  4. What types of activities do I like to do inside?
  5. What types of activities do I like to do outside?
  6. What do I do with my friends?
  7. What holidays are in this season?
  8. How does this season make me feel?

Now that she had thinking points, she was able to get to work. My instructions to her were to answer the questions using a two-part exercise.

  1. Write the question down on a piece of paper.
  2. Write the answer below it, then move on to the next question.
  3. Repeat.

Using this process, she was able to answer all eight questions. Some questions had a lot of answers while others had just a few. However, before we converted her answers into complete sentences, I had her organize the questions into groups. I wanted her to create the organizational structure based on like-ideas. Initially, she created three groups. With some help, she narrowed those three groups into two. We then agreed to use some of the extra content as part of her summary paragraph. When all the answer conversions were done, and after two drafts, she was able to create two solid paragraphs. From there, we worked on the introduction and summary sections.

To create the introduction, I asked more questions, this time focusing on how the season made her feel. I wanted her to focus on the feel-good feelings that came with the season! It was important to associate her thoughts with feelings. Autumn is a pleasant time of the year for her. From there, we abstracted the basic ideas from paragraphs two and three to complete the introductory section.

Finally, we crafted the summary paragraph – as you can expect – by rewording some of the original content. Then we talked about grabbing the reader’s attention – the hook to get people to ‘want’ to read her article, and this is what she came up with.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay

My daughter’s work!

“students age 6 to 16 see the world through the computer…”

The Top Three Things I Do Before Christmas

Autumn is the time when leaves fall to the ground. Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy the cooler weather of the season. I enjoy playing with my friends in the Fall. There are only a few months to enjoy the Autumn weather.

My favorite season of the year is Autumn. Autumn is also known as Fall. Fall contains the months of September, October, November, and December. The weather in Fall is cool but not cold. Fall has two main holidays, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I don’t like Halloween, but I do like Thanksgiving because of the delicious food such as rolls, mashed potatoes, turkey, and pie. In Autumn I wear long sleeve shirts, thick sweaters, jeans, leggings, and boots.

During Fall when I’m inside I play board games, play on the tablet, or watch TV. When I play outside during Autumn I go to my friend’s house and ride my bike. When I’m with my friends, I listen to music, talk to them, go to the park, and ride bikes together.

These are the reasons why I enjoy Autumn. First, I get to enjoy time with friends. Second, there is a lot of good food at Thanksgiving. Third, my clothes keep me warm and comfortable. I hope you like the Fall as much as I do.

In the end, she was proud of her work! And so was I!

The Circle of Learning.

“..Being allowed to express ourselves is the first step…”

This leads me to the third circle of learning. Join me as I approach learning from a new perspective.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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