Wednesday, July 29, 2009

much better....

After yesterday's training I was in the worst mood. Poor Mr. Lipstick was subjected to a long rant about everything that's wrong with education. He'll be happy to know that today's all day training was 200 times better so this evening will not be nearly as painful. Sure, I still fidgeted with my ipod, worked on my to-do list, talked to people beside me, and managed to kick my flip flops under the table when I got tired of sitting, but I do that during movies I'm interested in, so that's not necessarily a good measure of how well a training went.

Today we had trainings on the Patterns of Thinking Method. This was my 2nd training and I have to admit that back in April I drank the kool-aid and became obsessed. Today's training made me realized how much I've ingrained the Patterns of Thinking into my teaching philosophy already.

It's hard to remember not teaching with the Think Blocks now to be honest. I had so many great breakthroughs with them last spring. I was able to really understand what was going on with one little boy's home life when he walked me through his perspective on family using the Think Blocks. I wrote down our conversation and was able to bring it to Child Study and use it to help the team discuss how to best serve the child's emotional needs. It was disturbingly powerful.

Another kiddo had a pushing incident that landed him in the Principal's office, sobbing. We were able to re-create it using the Think Blocks- we broke the incident apart, examined the pieces of what happened, took perspectives, and talked about what to do next time.

One little girl struggled to tell sequential stories without repeating herself. We used the blocks to organize her thoughts- draw out the parts of her stories and single parts that related to the next part of the story- this helped her stop repeating phrases and writing "in circles" but instead create logical, meaningful stories that showed us what a smart little one she truly is.

I used them with my little ones with autism to retell stories, we went over rules, deconstructed social situations, and made a good stab at taking other people's perspective.

It only took one quarter and I was using the Patterns of Thinking and Think Blocks on the fly- I'd get into a lesson and realize that to fully flush out what we were talking about we needed the blocks. I started carrying them everywhere so I'd have them for those "oh yeah!" moments.

I am hooked.

Today's training was such a huge jump from yesterdays. Here at The Think Tank we can be critics, and we have high expectations. Yesterday we whispered about feeling frustrated and talked down to, but today the whispers were about lessons we could do, or ah-ha moments we were having. I loved listening to everyone on the staff jump into it- sometimes getting it, and sometimes being confused, and then coming round to get it. I'm so excited about what will happen once we all start to put our heads together, share ideas, and build off what one another are doing.

Bring on the kids!

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