I was thrilled to be asked to join the Washington International School’s Summer Institute for Teachers (WISSIT) this August. This annual gathering is a wonderful opportunity for DC-area classroom teachers from public, private, and charter schools, as well as other educators, to gather for workshops, discussions, and plenary presentations about creative approaches to teaching. Working with Harvard University’s Project Zero, the program gathers teachers for a week of investigation and contemplation.
I jumped at the opportunity to share Weigh Your Words and set up the seesaw and sorting bins in the WIS library for the duration of the summer institute. The teachers were invited to use the installation as a way to relax and reflect on some of the issues they were exploring. Some groups used the words as catalysts for group discussions.
Some just came by and relaxed and played.
I got to pick the teachers’ brains about ways that the project could be adapted to classrooms for language and community building exercises and to other school settings for activities such as mediation.
And some of the students came by as well and showed me new ways to play with the stones – including making a long path/poem of words and expanding to incorporate sound by recording the clicking of the stones as someone crawled through them.
I look forward to developing some of the new ideas we discussed at WISSIT and hope to bring school-appropriate versions of Weigh Your Words to more schools in the near future!