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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

#rawthought: Learning the Weird, Wonderful, Worrisome

Took a drive today and that is my number one mundane thing to do to get creative inspiration. I can’t tell you how many ideas I have had to write on receipts strewn on the car seats or notes hastily recorded on my phone.


Today I was thinking about


Steve Wheeler had just published a blog about a short film I saw yesterday called What Is Learning?

I plan to pen another post regarding that, but in pondering I thought about a reflective tool I like to use with my daughter on the ride home from school (she is fortunately still quite talkative during the commute).

For decades, I am sure, parents have asked their children, “What did you learn today?” or “What are you studying in school?” I don’t need to tell you we want a more nuanced answer than “Stuff”, “I dunno”, or worse- “nothing”…particularly if we are paying for private school.


I think it helps everyone to have some

Creative Constraints

I also gravitate towards things in threes and alliteration, so here we go:

The Weird, the Wonderful, and the Worrisome


What did you learn today that was “weird” (swap out for bizarre, strange, etc.)?

What did you find out that was “wonderful” (swap out lovely, intriguing, amazing, cool, etc.)?

What did you learn about that was “worrisome” (swap out troubling, distressing, problematic, or gross)?

This gives kids a chance to categorize the things they encountered in their studies and assess how they felt about them. It’s a form of metacognition, and  also helps them form their opinion so they can articulate it to others.

What if we had Tag Walls in the classroom?


Think about designating a certain area in your classroom for this kind of “tagging”. When students learn about something -either with teacher direct instruction or on their own- they could write the item on a Post It note and stick it under the category to which they think it belongs. It might be interesting to see if there are disagreements – perhaps what is wonderful to you is worrisome to me…

Affective Data Opportunity


I’ve blogged about affective data before, and I think this might be the perfect opportunity for students who blog to assign a particular tag to their post to contextualize it further. In addition to tagging their posts with literal descriptions, why not use these “3 W’s” as a consistent key? That way, they can search “weird”, for example and find all the things they wrote about they felt were strange.

I Can Do It Too?

I believe wholeheartedly in daily reflection. I read somewhere Benjamin Franklin did too, so I’m cool with that. I’ve done my #oneword project and my #Friday5, and even asked people about their lives in the #threeofme.


What if we asked ourselves about the Weird, Wonderful, and Worrisome things we learned about each day? We would move from being passive to active learners, thinking about our thinking. Perhaps – because we’ve pinned an emotion to it- we might even seek to do something about it, whether that be to share it, embrace and revel in it, or try to amend it.

If you try this out with yourself, your child, or your students, please drop me a line in the comment box or on Twitter…I’d love to see how it turns out.

#affectivedata #weird #tags #wonderful #metacognition #reflection #worrisome #SteveWheeler #creativeconstraint #benfranklin #rawthought #learning

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