In the Flesh!

July 5, 2021

By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President, Center for Inspired Teaching

Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students. 

This past week Inspired Teaching led our first in-person teacher training in 15 months. Our theme was wonder, the first part of Inspired Teaching’s Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle for student-led learning. We kept it simple, meeting teachers from across the Washington, DC region outdoors at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and engaging in our core Inspired Teaching exercises as we walked through the park amidst water lilies, giant lotus flowers, dragonflies, and a plant that was new to me called a buttonbush.

We began with a warm-up; it felt risky to invite teachers to warm up their bodies in the 90° heat, but we moved our bodies nonetheless! We continued with a Four Elements Grounding Exercise, which not only helps prepare adult and child learners to focus, but supports social-emotional learning too.

A group of Inspired Teachers pauses for a snapshot in front of a large pond of water lilies.

We engaged in exercises to sharpen our five senses, and to develop questions based on the information we take in from our senses using this observation guide. We crafted our own Wonder Project Plans, setting ourselves up to spend some time this summer investigating something we’ve always wanted to learn about. Each activity strengthened our skills as adults, and served as the foundation for lessons to bring to students this summer and in the coming school year.

My colleagues and I have loved teaching teachers online for the past 15 months – and building connections with educators from across the DC region, the US, and around the world. However, laughter, motivation, and inspiration are even more contagious in person, and we were delighted to experience them all with the teachers who joined us last week. We will continue our online PD throughout the summer and the 21-22 school year, and will be adding more and more in-person offerings as well. Our next in-person Summer Inspired Teaching Excursion takes place on July 14 at Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park. (Sign up!)

Thank you to the teachers who came out to learn with us last week, and to the teachers and school leaders who have learned with us virtually in the past 15 months. I look forward to continuing to learn together this summer and in the coming school year, as we strengthen our own sense of wonder, so we can do the same for our students.

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