Winter Wonderland

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! As I write today’s post, I’m looking out at the remains of a huge – and very unusual – snowfall that shut everything down Around These Parts starting on Christmas night. I had an unexpectedly quiet, peaceful day at home yesterday, which I spent watching the snow fall, reading, and occasionally venturing outside with a very surprised and concerned dog. He doesn’t see snow very often, and when he does, he tends to respond in a predictable way: at first, he wants nothing to do with the strange, cold, white stuff that’s covering his favorite territory, but gradually he begins to explore and enjoy … and pretty soon he decides that he likes snow after all.

And so I wonder: Is my dog Jasper a living metaphor for the way that so many learners respond to strange, new things? As I write, he’s asleep on the sofa … and even if he were awake, I don’t suppose I could ask him. But I think of so many students I’ve worked with over the years – and their responses when I ask them to step out of their comfort zones and try something new. Like Jasper, they are usually reluctant at first, though they don’t usually show their reluctance by stepping gingerly, by pulling on a leash, or by looking longingly toward the closed front door of the house. But with time and patience, they start to venture out – though, again, their ventures look a bit different from his hesitant footsteps, questioning over-the-shoulder glances, and tentative sniffs at the strange new stuff covering his familiar surroundings. With even more time and even more patience, they, too, start to run and play and enjoy the strange new world, and eventually they come to find that it’s become a familiar place. Unlike Jasper, though, they do tend to remember the previous strange, new things they’ve encountered – at least, they remember some of them, some of the time! 🙂

Speaking of wonder, I wonder what you’ll think, lectōrēs fidēlissimī, about an amazing talk from the 2010 TED Conference that a friend just told me about. At 17 minutes, it’s a bit longer than the video links I normally share, but I really think it’s worth your time! The model he describes – self-directed small groups of learners, with four or so children sharing a single computer – is very close to the way that I think the Tres Columnae Project ought to be implemented in a school-based setting for best results.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • What have you been wondering about as 2010 draws to a close?
  • What new plans and perspectives are you thinking about trying in 2011?
  • When you’re confronted with something new and surprising, how do you typically respond?

Tune in next time, when we’ll continue to explore these issues of wonder and consider see how the Tres Columnae Project and its model of Joyful Learning Communities might be able to contribute to – and help restore – the sense of joy and wonder in our learners. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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