Saturday, September 22, 2012
Two Thumbs Up!
September 10th- 22nd:
This past week I planned a few activities to help my students practice what it means to internalize a role for drama. One activity was each student had to choose a character: clown, teacher, rock star, movie star, fisher, chef, baby, etc. They had to give themselves a pretend name, and decide how their character would walk, talk, and introduce themselves. Then, after a few minutes to create their character, everyone lined up at the back of the classroom. One by one they walked (in character) to the front of the room and introduced themselves. Once again I found myself in awe of their creativity and performance. One student decided to be ME. He walked to the front of the room and said, “Good Morning, I am your new teacher Ma’am Gina. Then he ended with, “You can do it!” and gave two thumbs up. I am always doing this in class. Encouraging my students to try, and giving thumbs up and high fives when appropriate. Later that day when my counterpart and I had a vacant period some students came to our room to chat. This happens almost every day. The same student who acted like me was there and his acting continued. He was pretending to be a teacher. During his lesson he was saying things, almost verbatim from the lesson I gave that morning. Then he looks me straight in the eyes and says, “Ma’am I want to be a teacher just like you!” I gave him two thumbs up and said, “I believe in you!” Sometimes things happen in life that allows one to see a way of impact that may otherwise be unseen.
Planning projects is something I really enjoy doing. I like making my students think in ways that they may have never before. With that being said, I am consistently challenging them to collaborate ideas and develop workable plans for projects. Sometimes they tell me, “Ma’am we can’t do that!” and I like to show them and teach them that they can. The SSG (Student Supreme Government) is the group of students who I mostly talk to about this. A few weeks ago they were all in the library waiting for the principal. I asked them why. They said they had created a PowerPoint of different projects that they want to do and they were going to present it to the principal to get her input and permission. My jaw just about hit the floor. The first project that the students planned is happening in the beginning of October. We are going to have a coastal cleanup, use the plastic we collect for our bottle bricks, and distribute flyers about the life cycle of a plastic bag when it is put in the sea or burned. My goal now is to plan a meeting where the SSG of today can share their knowledge with the new SSG for next year. This group changes every year but if this kind of attitude and planning can continue with each new batch of students then I am certain great things will continue to happen.
I have one other short story. Awhile ago I taught my students how to make flashcards as a study technique. They needed to memorize new vocabulary. I did not make it mandatory to make them but many students did. Just this week I saw four different groups sitting together who all appeared to be completely focused on something. I was curious. I walked over to see what was happening. Turns out they had made flashcards for their Filipino class and were all studying because they had a test that day. I guess I can check sustainability of study strategies of my list of things to accomplish.
After talking with some of my sports club kiddos, they made a poster advertising that we are now playing volleyball and ultimate Frisbee at sports club. Well, the advertising worked! We had a record number of kiddos come to join in the fun this past Saturday. Another teacher at my school came to play volleyball with us. We played two really sweet games compliments of my sister, Heather. The games were great because they allowed everyone to play despite the fact that we only have two volleyballs. I put one of my students in charge of leading the group in Ultimate Frisbee. A few weeks ago I gave him a packet of information I had printed off the internet. He has been busy reading it and was so excited to teach his classmates about the new sport. The great thing about sports club is it is not just about sports. It is about giving students time to play and have fun. It is about helping someone believe that they can be a leader. It is about giving students an opportunity to meet and interact with new friends. It is about having conversations while taking water breaks about many, many different things.
In community news- last weekend Shea and I facilitated cultural diversity training. I was asked by a college student in my town if I would be willing to facilitate the training. It was a one day seminar about the importance of culture and language in education. Shea and I got together one weekend and put together four powerful sessions for the college students, soon to be teachers. The sessions allowed them to evaluate their own philosophy of teaching, talk about how the world of education is always changing, examine diversity from the seen and unseen lens, and talk about the connectivity of elements of teaching. It was an interactive, insightful, and beautiful day, creating great teachers one step at a time. We were invited to facilitate upcoming seminars too for the college- I guess we did a good job! Working with education college students is a great way for us as volunteers to spread our knowledge, input, advice, curiosity and creativity beyond the boundaries of our sites. I am excited about this partnership and looking forward to planning seminars again in the future.
As September ends I am thinking about my mother because her birthday is very near, pumpkin spice lattes, planning the youth encampment at my school and my brave sister as she gets closer and closer to bringing another marvel into this world! Love lots!