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Hi! I'm Misty.

Three questions + provocations to help you know your learners quickl Misty's Newsletter

Published over 1 year ago • 3 min read

Dear Reader,

I'm so happy to see you! Thank you for inviting me into your inbox and for opening this newsletter. I know your time is precious and I'm very honoured to spend it with you.

As an Inquiry educator, you understand that relationships are EVERYTHING. This is especially true when it comes to our learners. Knowing what makes each student tick matters. That's why we often begin our year with get-to-know-you activities or even a full study on Identity.

I'm sharing three questions, with creative provocations, that I've used to get to know my learners fast. You'll find them in the Offer section below. I hope you and yours like them too!

Y stands for Youth:

This section features a person, project, organization, that inspires youth to thrive.

O stands for Offering:

Here’s where I share free resources, practical tips or prompts.

U stands for Uplifting:

We’ll wrap up with an uplifting quote or song to leave you feeling great-- after all, it’s good to feel good!


Youth inspire Susan Harris McKay:

👉 I'm compelled to share the quote below from Susan's most recent blog post because it empowers me to resist packaged/standardized curriculum in favour of our relationships with students.

Will it do the same for you, Reader?

👉 Quote: "In his book, Transformative Change and Real Utopias in Early Childhood Education, Peter Moss quotes Philip Mirowski who writes: 'central to neoliberalism is a core conviction that the market really does know better than any one of us what is good for ourselves and for society' (Mirowski). And if markets know best, then they should be pervasive, everything being fair game for marketisation, including of course early childhood education, since all things are viewed as commodifiable.' When markets know best, teachers forget they matter and that their relationship with children is more joyful and more productive and more meaningful and more likely to lead to lasting learning when it is not commercialized."

Meet Susan, Author and Founder

Susan was the Pedagogical Director of Portland Children’s Museum and teacher (PK - grade 5) at Opal School for almost 20 years where she researched the role of play, story, and the arts to create meaningful learning environments and experiences for children and for adults. In the wake of organization’s closure in 2021, she co-founded the Center for Playful Inquiry and Story Workshop Studio to carry forward the research and professional development programs she helped design there.

Offering that ignites: Three questions that help you get to know students fast

👉Here are three (of many) questions I love to ask:

1. What do you love to do (when no one is looking)?

2. What special item would you share with a friend and why would you share with that person?

3. What does your perfect day at school look, sound, and/or feel like? Show us in any way that works for you.

Bonus: What question(s) do you wish teachers asked you (at this point in the year)?


👉Here are three creative ways to explore and (re)present them:

1. Invite students collect items from home in a bag or story string

2. Offer sketching or collage materials and create a snapshot, mini-story or comic strip

3.Use digital cameras and make a behind-the-scenes reel or interview


👉Here's why I ask these questions (and not just at the beginning of the year):

I've found that knowing learners' preferences + strengths gives me a window into generative topics and inquiry processes. I then use these as experiential learning contexts. For example, if a child loves Lego and building, I can invite them to create a model of the concept-at-hand using Lego. For more examples of learner-inspired teaching, check out my book.

📷 I want to hear from you Reader:


Which question or provocation will you try first? Please hit reply or share on social: I'll reply and cheer you on! Don't forget to tag @popupstudioed on Insta or @PatersonMisty on Twitter to alert me. I won't want to miss your post!

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Uplifting quote + song that illuminates:

Read and listen to this quote and song to invite reflection ⭐️

"Ancient teachers developed thousands of teaching techniques and combined them in highly creative ways, but they never forgot that it was the individuals' own spirit that would guide what was learned." Dr. Gregory Cajete

Listen to the Song:

Hold Strong by Jeremy Lister

Favourite lyrics:

I know it's hard to see the forest for the trees

But if you stand with me, you'll see a million leaves


Here's to bonding with our students Reader!

Hi! I'm Misty.

If you're an educator who loves inquiry, play, and concept-based approaches to education, we'd have so much to talk about! Sign up below for free resources, exclusive content (that I don't share anywhere else), be the first-to-know about events, and network with thought leaders. Enter your email address and check your inbox to confirm your subscription. Can't wait to get inspired together!

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