Remember that classic, first-week-of-school composition assignment, “Write about what you did during your summer vacation”? We in the Waters Foundation (WF) are excited to take on that assignment this fall, as the articles in this edition of the newsletter will illustrate.
Summer vacation traditionally begins with Memorial Day in the desert southwest, so the Systems Thinking Level 1 workshop commenced the very next day in Tucson. Four of the Waters Foundation’s Facilitators-in-Training (FiTs) deftly collaborated to work with the enthusiastic workshop participants, whose insightful questions and feedback throughout the week helped us refine some of our materials. Successive approximation in practice!
A few of the facilitators and participants from the Level 1 workshop became part of the group of 30 educators attending the Project Based Learning 101 Workshop that the WF hosted in Tucson the next week. No one minded deferring vacation as they energetically engaged with colleagues to learn (e.g. the eight essentials for authentic PBL work) and make their plans for fall classroom implementation.
What felt more like vacation because of the conference and “camp” atmosphere was the work that many of the WF leadership team, FiTs, and some colleagues from the Catalina Foothills School District in Tucson took part in at the Creative Learning Exchange’s Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Conference in Wellesley, MA and at SoLEd’s Camp Snowball in Portland, OR. The Waters Foundation-sponsored group pooled their efforts to facilitate 11 sessions at these conferences, receiving positive and useful feedback that will inform our work.
Oh, the places we went (Dr. Seuss …) also included Colorado, California, New York, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Turkey. Year after year, we find dedicated educators throughout the country, and the world, valuing systems thinking enough to put vacation on hold.
Everyone’s back in school now, rested from vacation, excitedly working with students and applying what they learned during the summer. Look for us in your school (or online), following up on some of the summer work we did together! (And if you don’t see us, join us for a webinar or Contact Us through the WF website.)