Get Uncomfortable and Learn Something New

Have you ever read an inspiring social media post that got you thinking? Check out the post below. Tori Arsenault, a pharmacist, wrote that she is dedicating 20 minutes a day to learn something new. Her note stuck with me because she is choosing tough concepts. Arsenault’s drive for knowledge is what we want for all learners.


The AASL Standards support learners as they embark on inquiry projects. The Competencies encourage learners to reflect on new concepts and share ideas.

What do you think about challenging ourselves to do the same thing? Let’s see how it feels to get uncomfortable and learn something new. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Schedule 20 minutes a day for learning. Add an appointment to your digital calendar to protect this time for yourself.
  • Pick a topic of interest. Take a look at the 25 most viewed posts on the Knowledge Quest website to find inspiration. Karin Perry’s post on sketchnoting caught my eye. She inspired me to focus my 20 minutes on doodling and sketchnoting. The resources at the end of her post helped me further my investigation.
  • Find a learning resource. Consider nonfiction biographies, professional development books, TED Talks, podcasts, and YouTube videos. I go to for most of my 20-minute learning sessions. Some classes are free, but I signed up for the yearly subscription. They offer a variety of topics. You can learn anything from taking pictures with your phone to networking with stakeholders.
  • Take notes. Have a favorite writing implement and a notebook ready for doodling. Author Todd Henry explains why this is important in his blog post titled “3 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life.” Not only will you remember your learning, but you will see patterns of interest along the way. Make connections with these patterns to inspire big ideas.
  • Share your learning. If you think your doodles and sketchnotes will help readers in some way, please share!

Inspire Young Learners

If learners see that spending 20 minutes a day is relevant, they will want to give it a try. Show learners your favorite pages of notes. Inspire them to learn something that piques their interest. Give them time to brainstorm, explore, and plan future learning sessions.

Read mentor texts that feature life-long learners. I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon by Baptiste Paul, Miranda Paul, and Elizabeth Zunan is a great example. This true story is about a boy who craved information about farming. He spent a lot of time asking questions and digging for answers. His passion for learning saved his village. Read my blog post on to find a lesson idea inspired by this book.

How do you motivate learners to seek knowledge? Please share in the comment box below!


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher:

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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