December Challenge: I Wish My Teacher Knew
As we enter the "Most wonderful time of the year" for some students it may not be filled with kids jingle bells belling, parties for hosting, or marshmallows for toasting. It simply may not be the hap-happiest time of the year for all of our students. Peering into the thinking, dreams, wishes and desires of our students is one of the most impactful gifts we could ever give. For our students of poverty and trauma, being away from school for two weeks continuously may be the one time of the year they dread the most. School is home, school is comfort, school is predictability. You, the teacher, matter even more!
The challenges is very simple:
1. Watch the video above and critically listen to the transformations that have taken place for 3rd Grade teacher Kyle Schwartz from Denver.
2. Reflect on your "Why". Write this question down on paper. Scratch it on several sticky notes, and place them strategically as daily reminders for the month of December. "What is your purpose in teaching?" Is your goal to prepare students to be the highest scoring teacher in the state, or is it rooted more deeply in humanity?
3. Take the challenge and write it on the board and ask your students, "What do you wish that I knew about you?"
4. Strategically set aside time to meet kids on their turf and as follow up questions to their answer. Sitting side-by-side on a park bench at recess with a bag of Skittles doesn't hurt either. Listen. Really listen. When those zingers and stingers pierce your heart, keep listening and positively affirm your appreciation for sharing.
5. Use their voices to partner with your students when you return in January to empower students as leaders based on an authentic democratic classroom process. Ask them. Use their voices to set new goals, visions and processes for learning, growing and becoming happy thriving adults. Our students are counting on US!
Bonus:We would love to hear your outcome and reflections. Tweet out successes, reflections, resources, plans for the new year and aha's to #LetStudentsSpeak through the end of the year.
Let's rewrite the lyrics for our student this December so our kids can live a happy life! You may be their biggest HOPE!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
Where the kids are empowered And everyone is telling you “Listen with care” It’s the most wonderful time of the year It’s the hap-happiest season of all With those classroom greetings and classroom meetings When classroom friends cheer for us all It’s the hap-happiest season of all
There’ll be Skittles for listening Leaders for asking And adults out in the know There’ll be true honest stories And tales of their feelings of long, long ago
It’s the most wonderful time of the year There’ll be much love and growing And hearts will be glowing When teachers are near It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the most wonderful time of the year There’ll be much love and growing
And hearts will be glowing
When teachers are near It’s the most wonderful time It’s the most wonderful time It’s the most wonderful time of the year
For more information about the Let Them Speak! Project you may want to read Let Them Speak or visit Rick and Rebecca's website. We believe one of the greatest gifts you can give our teachers and students this year is the power of STUDENT VOICE!
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