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Kids Matter… Their Thoughts, Their Feelings, Their Work

on March 24, 2012
As a teacher, my job is to facilitate learning. I am there to help students discover new ideas and create work they are proud to show and inspired to share. My responsibility is to prepare them for the future AND to ensure they enjoy their present days.

 
Ideas, time, and space are needed for kids to feel like they can produce products that matter. After finishing literature circles, kids were given choice of final projects and partners. Mrs. K and I allowed our kids to collaborate with kids from other classes. Their projects spilled out into a mix of workspaces: our classrooms, the hallways, outdoors, the library, a spare room across the hall, and on one crazy day the cafeteria. The greatest joy of teaching: hearing kids excitedly coming together to create.
 
There is a saying teachers get asked more questions than any other job, and I think this might be true. The other day, I tried to see how many times I could answer in the affirmative.
 
Yes, you may work there.
Yes, you may use that.
Yes, that is a GREAT idea!
 
Each day it is important that we give students authentic learning opportunities. As a mom, I know, my daughter’s work I keep is the work she creates. As a teacher, I want my students to have as many chances to produce as possible. Kids matter… their thoughts, their feelings, their work. If as educators, we are only pushing through tedious tasks because we are “preparing children for the future,” we are missing the point of education. Education is meant to inspire, uplift, and empower us as a people. What lives are we preparing our students for if drudgery is the means to the end? Life is not in the future; it is NOW and nobody understands that better than children.
 
“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”
  ~Stacia Tauscher

  

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Based on the novel Double Dutch, these boys created a board game about how to survive on your own, like the character Randy did in the book.

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These students wrote, acted, and directed a script based on the book The Uglies.

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Two girls hard at work making a children's book based on the novel Romiette and Julio.

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A collage depicting the novel Romiette and Julio along with a paragraph explaining the text. Work is always more fun when you are creating with a friend.

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Kids had the option to create on-line projects or use the computer to facilitate their work. These girls were searching for on-line images that could help illustrate their collage.

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2 responses to “Kids Matter… Their Thoughts, Their Feelings, Their Work

  1. You are so right. We aren’t waiting for high school, or college, or some distant future to start the important work of learning. We are offering opportunities to learn and engage in this moment. I can hear the buzz of creative and engaged learners throughout your blog post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Teresa says:

    My daughter had so much fun working on her project. You’re right, you have empowered, uplifted, and inspired her to do her best. Thank you so much!

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