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Day One: The Keeper of Safeness

Essential Question: How do we create a compassionate community that supports risk-taking, perseverance, and adventure?

"How would you like to be greeted?" Participants enter through the "Tunnel of Love," an interactive display of their passions and reflections, before being welcomed with a special greeting.


Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce provided the inspiration for the 2017 Moonshot Summer Teacher Institute and anchored the experience.

Wanda Lincoln, experienced educator and local philanthropist, gave the keynote address to kick off the week-long institute.  Speaking about mindfulness in teaching, Mrs. Lincoln stressed that It is possible to teach mindfully to every child, because every child is worth it.  "A brain in pain cannot learn." She challenged participants to think about how can their classroom, with mindful decisions, allow students to learn and thrive?

Wanda Lincoln speaks to an appreciative audience to set the stage for the institute.

Participants unite and connect through community building activities and sharing about their favorite childhood toys.


Liz Remington, Co-Founder of The Learning Alliance and Director of Professional Development.

Liz Remington helped kick off the morning session with Mindful Moonshot Moments, leading everyone in activities to unite, disengage stress, connect, and commit.

Jobs were assigned to each table which included Kindness Spreaders, Celebrators, Breathers and Photographers.

A Kindness Spreader takes her job seriously as she gets a hard to reach itch for her neighbor.

Connecting with the text of Ollie's Odyssey, each table formed their own "Junkyard Gang" and performed a song, handshake or chant to represent their table job.


What do you value?

Participants were taken through a thoughtful exercise to determine values for their classrooms. These values are critical in setting the course for the new school year and providing the structures to sustain them throughout the year.

"I loved the morning rituals, hands on learning opportunities, time to practice new techniques/strategies." - Participant Feedback

Lost and Found: Teaching Foundational Literacy Skills in a Meaningful Context

Focus Standards:

*RL.1.2 - Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

*SL.1.2 - Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

*W.1.3 - Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

TH:Cn10.1.2.a. Relate character experiences to personal experiences in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Kurt Wootton (above), Co-author of A Reason To Read, and Leslie Connelly (below), TLA Educational Consultant  lead the afternoon on Foundational Literacy.


A guided meditation followed lunch and participants made their own journals for recording their reflections. Both the meditation and the visual art project were led by Gowri Savoor.

Participants make connections to the text, self, each other, and their lived worlds. This is important for both deep learning and social emotional well-being. 

The afternoon session focused on foundational literacy and modeled two 45 min whole group ELA lessons. Participants learned strategies for Pre-reading (Entering Text), During Reading (Comprehending Text), and Post Reading (Creating Text). Activities included: Clap It/Snap It Vocabulary Prediction, Call and Response, Guided Movement, and Slide Show Storytelling.


Post-reading (Creating and Performing Text)

With only a "nugget" from the story, participants are asked to create their own adventure. The story must have a beginning, middle and end. They then created a 1 minute performance of their adventure story, shown in frozen tableaux, or "slides."


Each day ends with closing reflections to help participants make connections and think deeply about the day's lessons.

John Dewey said it best: "We don't learn from experience . . . We learn from reflecting on our experience."

Debbi Arseneaux, Moonshot Institute Program Manager and TLA Teaching Artist, facilitates as participants share out.

Pictures from Day 1

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