Back in the days of cut and paste and copy machine, I always found myself in the library of my school full of planning for the coming year as others wound down their final days in June. I was gathering resources, planning, and cutting and pasting in hopes of applying what I had learned from the year just finished. I could see my practice change and grow, nothing that compares with Darren's energies and sophistication, and would have loved an opportunity to share and get feedback from other teachers. But those were the days of what some called "I've got a secret" and open collaboration was not viewed in a favorable light, at least in my situation. Had I had such an opportunity, my students' lives would have been the richer and their learning and mine deeper from what I could learn from colleagues.
Now the possibilities do abound when educators blog! The isolation felt by a classroom teacher (I do remember that vividly) can be an artifact of the past! The sharing, that I so yearned for, overflows the blogs of educators. The models of excellence, and life long learning on a path to providing what is best for young people are no longer hidden in one classroom in a school, or reserved for those summer weeklong or daylong institutes.
Darren at A Difference has, IMHO, modeled throughout his blog, his quest for the best pedagogy to help his students learn. That pedagogy is one that truly resonates with me! His youngsters are active learners, in control of their learning with an exemplary expert learner as a guide. For me who feels a true appreciation for his pedagogy, for others who may be open to consider this kind of classroom, and for those who now live in the world of drill and rote for NCLB, his unselfish willingness to share all he has learned and is learning opens endless possibilities. His sharing enriches the lives of all who read his blog. His open reflections upon his practice are a model, if adopted by more educators, could transform teaching and learning for youngsters across the United States, Canada, and beyond.
In his recent post, The Next Movement, he details his journey with his students with remarkable detail. What a treasure! He has offered all the opportunity to replicate or adapt his successes and to reflect and plan "the next movement". My name appears in that posting. I was surprised and honored to read it there. Thanks goes to you, Darren, for the opportunity.
How the times have changed! Sitting at my computer in Ohio, learning from a master math educator in Manitoba! What could be more exciting than that!!