I truly think I could write a blog at the end of each day about the ideas and reflections that come from our time together at Indi-ED.
So please bear with me as I’m still learning how to dwindle down all of the ‘goodness’ from one week into one weekly blog post.
We began the week in our writing unit discussing the idea of leaving a legacy. We took a look at some famous legacies of people who we’re aware of now and some that they’d never heard of before. (No one in my cohort had any idea what JFK or Princess Diana stood for. A perspective check for me when I started considering some of the ‘leaders’ or role models that our kids now a days are being exposed to.)
Then we incorporated some math and they began time lining out their own lives. Big events in their history, their present, and their future. Yes, we allowed them time to DREAM BIG because if you don’t imagine it and develop a plan to accomplish it, you’re less likely to actually make it happen.
We also tied in some artistic expression as we allowed them time to create their own vision boards. Yes, another adult strategy and skill that helped them focus on their own desires and dreams, not the ones that others project onto them.
My favorite part of this activity came when my cohort began cutting out the words and pictures that were meaningful to them and ended up seeing and sharing them with the others in their cohort. “Hey, you wanted to be a chef. Here’s a picture of a cupcake, do you want it?” YES, my little loves! Not only can you dream up your own vision but you are also starting to see that you’re capable of helping others to achieve theirs too.
I know it was just a picture but after I let them engage and simply be kind to one another for a while, we chatted about it (because we had the time to do so) and they understood.
In reading, we’re also reading a book that gives them real life strategies on how to be a positive person via a story about two dogs. Not only are we discussing reading strategies like story development, problem & solution and learning how to highlight relevant information (in their own books that they’ll actually get to take with them after they’re done and hopefully use in their futures as adults) but we’re actually getting to practice those skills right when we read about them.
No, they’re not napping. They’re visualizing something that brings them joy so that they can actually learn to feel what a genuine smile feels like when it radiates up from your heart to your mouth and to your eyes. (Yeah, I didn’t know that it happened there either until I read the book but it’s true.) Try paying attention to your eyes the next time you’re genuinely smiling. You can feel it.
Which leads me to our next reading/math/technology lesson. We decided to go on a ‘smile walk’. Or as they liked to call it, “Operation Smile More.” Where we strategically walked around our neighborhood (yes, in real sunshine, in the middle of the day, engaging with real humans, based on their ideas, in real life…WHAT?! Sadly unheard of I know!) Sorry, back to the mission.
We discussed collecting accurate data, discussed the different types of charts and graphs that are typically and more currently used, analyzed and decided on what type of chart/graph would work best for our data collection and then were off. Two at a time, they walked by unknowing strangers and let their smiles infect people around them. After each pass, they huddled up and discussed the reactions. “1/2 smile. No that was a full smile. They started talking before we even said anything!” You get the idea.
They plotted, they staked out their positions, they photographed and videoed one another and then, it was my turn to go. Wait what? Did everyone seriously just ignore a genuine smile from an adult? Yep! New topic to discuss. “Hey guys, do you think that no one smiled back at me because I’m adult.”
“Well maybe. But they shouldn’t! That’s ridiculous!”
What a deep conversation that turned into. Yes my little loves. Adults don’t make eye contact and treat each other differently even when you’re just trying to share joy with others. (Ever try walking/running along the water and try to make eye contact to say hello? Or worse, walk down the hall at your place of employment? Brutal eye-opener for me that adults may need reminders of what constitutes the important basics of human treatment.)
Again, back to the mission.
So then they started wondering how our older cohorts’ mission was going. Then they wanted to see what would happen if just the adults went. Then we were approached by the manager at Locale Market and surprised with free fruit cups! Then we started talking about our quote for the morning, “Kindness, it’s like a boomerang, it comes back.” And then they taught us about some interesting fruit that we’d never heard of before! Then we went back and graphed our data in Excel! Then we started learning about the growth mindset vs. the fixed mindset. Then we actually started learning about the parts of our brain and what they’re responsible for. Then we became neurons and acted out what it was like in our brains when we learn something new. Then they started saying such profound things that we started making our own quote wall. Then we’re beginning to practice yoga so we can start getting in touch with how our body and brains work. And then…well, I think you get the idea.
You guys, THIS is the way teaching and learning are supposed to be!
EVERYTHING we’re doing goes hand-in-hand.
It connects! It’s not arbitrary. It’s applicable. It’s fun! (Oh yeah, we chased dolphins and saved a baby squirrel last week too!) It’s going to help them not only become better learners but better humans!
I LOVE MY JOB AGAIN!!!
I know caps aren’t always appropriate but if I could scream it from the rooftops I would so I want you to feel it!
Did we deal with some challenges last week because this is some of their first times dealing with all of these new freedoms? Yes, but did we solve them together? Yes. Did we not get to every single thing that we said that we would? Yes. But we’ll get to it this week.
This is ONLY week one. Stay tuned my friends! I can guarantee that this is going to be a historical year.
Like we said in our resiliency video today, BRING IT ON!