I love this time of the school year. At least the part that is about my students. (Yeah…there are too many meetings, too much drama about which students are going where for next year, too much paperwork…filling in forms, checking off boxes, signing off forms for this and that.)
As a friend of mine recently said in an email, this is a time when we get to witness a fuller blossom of our students. We get to see what they can do when given time and space and opportunity…if we give them time and space and opportunity.
Like this slightly chewed and fully blossomed tulip, students open up at this time of the year. They dig into projects and expose their interests and thinking. They are enveloped in possibility.
Our students recently went to the San Diego Natural History Museum on a field trip. Their goal was to explore the new Coast to Cactus exhibit that features San Diego’s diverse ecosystems and find something that interested them. When they returned to the classroom. they researched this interest and then create a movie or blog post to teach someone else about what they learned. With time and a bit of technical support from us, our students inquired, composed, and created.
Here’s a couple of examples:
Ana (a third grader) got very interested in ghost shrimp…and couldn’t wait to learn more. She researched and wrote…working hard to explain what she learned in her own words and voice…and included her own drawing of a ghost shrimp. Here’s an excerpt:
Moist, murky water embraces the wetlands, cattails sway in the salty breeze, lush growth is everywhere. The wetlands are teeming with life. They are homes to birds, fish, and many mammals. However, many people ignore what’s happening deep down in the mud flats. The mudflat is a home to an amazing creature, the ghost shrimp
You can see her work here.
Eli (a second grader) noticed a mouse at the museum and couldn’t wait to learn more. And when he didn’t find the answers to his questions during his time researching in class, he went home and got his parents to help him with his research. He has also become our residence expert on iMovie…mentoring many of his classmates, helping them record and upload their own videos. Here’s his movie.
And those two are just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in the classroom. Our students have cross-pollinated, pushing each other to consider new possibilities. Like the bee on this sunflower, they depend on each other as they reach and strive for new heights, solidify what they already know, and reach with a helping hand to lift their classmates. They are enveloped in a community of learners that allows them to bloom, to stumble, and to get up and try again.
And I am so lucky, because I am part of this community too…reaching and learning, enveloped in the energy and excitement of possibility.