It Begins With a Spark

Summer is a great time – time for reflection, a change of pace, casual meetups with friends and family. And an opportunity to play around with some ideas that’s been kicking around.  I have a tendency to take summer moments as they happen – dumping aside the calendar and allow things to unfold. It’s the exact opposite of what my life is like the rest of the year.

I’ve been thinking a bit on what drives action – why some ideas pop up, have great promise but wither away; why some ideas are made into realities. And then it hit…it begins with a spark, a connection. (A bit of disclosure here – the term “spark” came from my friend, Bev Ogilvie in her book, I’ve finally woven the words and image to make it personally meaningful (at least for now).


What I’ve learned is that sparks happen all around us. Big ones, little ones. The ones that connect are the ones that move into action. It is the action that creates new opportunity for other sparks to surface.  And as ‘learning leaders’,  our job is to look for the sparks in others and allow them to flourish.

What are your sparks? How do you see them playing out in your life? I’d be interested in hearing your stories.


4 thoughts on “It Begins With a Spark

  1. My spark comes from engaging in dialogue with colleagues and families… biting into an exciting project… letting the ‘caution’ go and letting the heart guide. Thanks for your thoughts Jan! Love them!

  2. Hi Jan. I’m glad to hear you are sparking this summer and making meaningful connections. Summer is a time for me as well to think about many things. Lately I have been pondering how to increase student and parent voice? How can we use a team approach to answer these questions: Is what we are doing getting students to where they need to be? Are we including students, parents, and community members in our planning?

    1. Hi Bev,
      Thank you for your thoughts on the journey – so appreciate it. I’m thrilled that you’ve been thinking about student & parent voices – a topic that I’m passionately connected. If we truly believe that students, parents or any adults are important beings, then their voice matters. I think at some levels, voice and choice are part of the norm. However this also depends on how the term, ‘voice’ is defined. I know quite a few teachers who are incredible at facilitating learning environments, yet are challenged to provide their students meaningful voice where it counts. Voice comes when we accept individuals even when we don’t agree. (Interestingly some texts on “strategic conversations” would argue that the greatest ideas/solutions come from ecclectic viewpoints.) It is easy to allow voice when the stakes are minimum; it would be fascinating to see how this plays out with important decisions.
      One example comes from my desire for as many teachers as possible to use a blog or other web platform to share their story (a multi-conversation opportunity) with the world. Teachers and students have a chance to work through their ideas with an authentic audience. A principal had issues with this as it might possibly shed a poor light on the school. This is about trust; trust that teachers and students work through how to communicate in thoughtful ways no matter the content, trust in the process, and trust that every participant has something of worth to contribute.
      I wonder what would happen if we started offering all stakeholders a chance at the planning/thinking/doing table. (Mmh, we’ll need a bigger table.) Going to think some more and see how we can facilitate this. Thanks again.

Please Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s