Monday, July 4, 2011

2011 Journal Entry #1 – Moving on

I’ve just started mulling over the newly selected ‘big idea’ that the teachers from Nellie McClung Elementary School have chosen to focus on for next year. Each year the whole school will base their learning around a central theme. My role is to present a ‘mega’ book talk at the end of August, before the school year begins and suggest resources that may inspire or support their ‘big idea’.

This year’s topic is – journey.

I’m excited.

So far, my preliminary thoughts have snagged on the transformative nature of journey for humans and non-human elements. In the planning sessions, the teachers came up with words they associate with journey including growth, challenges, quests, adventure, risk, opportunities, destinations, rites, baggage, beginnings, endings, regrets, freedom, pace, choice, survival, cycles, planning, spontaneity, mistakes, dreams, searching, fear, revisiting, forks, explorers, carpe diem, etc. Lots more besides these.

It really is wide open. This is looking to understand journey in the broadest sense, metaphorical and literal. Some of the questions they’ve come up with also reflect a philosophical bent, such as:
How do you know when something is a journey? Is not journey?
Does a journey ever really end? Is anything/anyone ever really gone?
Who owns, directs, and influences a journey?

My challenge will be to look for resources that reflect this all encompassing ‘big idea’. I see a lot of the children’s literature fitting with the inquiry as most stories have characters undergo some transformation on some level. There’s usually some ‘conflict’ which the character must resolve and likely come to some understanding about. Finding resources outlining human journeys won’t be a problem.
 I’ll need to keep in mind that the inquiry also includes non-human elements as well. This was explained as all things having histories and that things change over time. An example is water. In this inquiry it will likely be used more as a metaphor for journey because its nature is so variable – it can flow fast or slow, be still, cut new channels, seemingly disappear, etc. The historical depth of inanimate objects will be an interesting component for me to work on, as well, as the human stories.

I’ve a couple of months to think and read about the nature of journey. Should be interesting.

What are your thoughts on this? I’d love hear your suggestions for resources. Please feel free to leave a comment.


Ms. Yingling said...

My favorit about an actual journey is Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Such a good book, and my students all like it as well.

Tammy Flanders said...

Thanks for your recommendation. I'm not familiar with this one but will try and track it down.

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