Uh Oh...

“The computers won’t connect to the wi-fi.” Running SOLEs, which are reliant on the Internet, the above sentence is about the worst glitch one can run into. “Let’s try…” “How about if we…” “Maybe restart them?” Nada, nil, nothing. Luckily I work with children and the vivid imaginations that accompany them, even when one boy assured me, finger pointing to his brain, “My computer’s not awake right now!” And thus started a classically different SOLE Hour at Wanaque Public Library. We started in the usual way, brainstorming a list of big questions. Then, instead of searching for the answers to one, we chose to invent answers to a question we each chose. I’ll let the kids and their inventions a

Everyone is a Teacher

“Wouldn’t I love to see the governor do what I do every day.” “These politicians wouldn’t survive a week of being a teacher.” In my time as a schoolteacher, I’d uttered those sentences thousands of times, at least half of those times were in 2010 when New Jersey’s Governor Christie decided to all at once slash millions and millions of dollars from our education budget because NJs fiscal problems and mismanagement would be magically solved in one fell swoop. Since then the governor has accomplished little besides enraging most of his constituency as his approval rates show (Am I the only person who reads this quote and thinks, "Well, why is School doing things that way???") But here’s the thi

Learning at the edge of chaos

Okay, so...yeah, sometimes we cross over that edge too. But to see what comes from this style of learning, as I’ve had the opportunity to now see at Closter Library over the course of three SOLE Hour sessions, is to see children being who and what they are, wild and curious people in search of absolutely everything. Why can’t people breathe underwater? When children are curious and at play, they discover and enjoy what they would care less about if the same ideas were forced upon them. There’s nothing in those posters you wouldn’t find in a Science textbook. But it was discovered with emotion and purpose. It was knowledge constructed by the children, in a manner the children decided, to be