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Big ideas and essential questions: The first week

2 min read


In those first days when everyone is replenished and well rested, there is a gleam in people’s eyes, and everything is freshly painted and clean, as if invigorated with a sense of possibility. Before the deluge of time, events, assignments, tests, fires to put out, parents to call, meetings (upon meetings) to attend takes over, I invite all of us to think and ponder together the Big Ideas (Ideals), and the Essential Questions that drew us to teaching.

What do you know about the lives of these kids?

What do you remember about the first days of school when you were a student?

What do you want to accomplish by the end of the new academic year?

How do you want to grow and challenge yourself this year?

Just to take 45 minutes this week to talk with each other regarding the ideas, experiences and values concerning learning and teaching, that matter. Before the undertow of busyness and distractions that characterize too many schools become the norm.

This is how we build mindful schools.

David Penberg is an urban and international educational leader. Most recently he headed Stevens Cooperative School as an interim, and prior to that he was head of school at the Benjamin Franklin International School in Barcelona and head of studies at the American School Foundation in Mexico City.