Connecting in the Classroom

Today was a good day. I had the privilege of co-teaching a literacy block with a great Grade 8 teacher, Mrs. VanNie. I love to teach. It is that simple. I also love to teach alongside open minded colleagues who are looking to explore new things in the classroom. When we started the lesson one student piped up “I have never seen a Principal (I am actually a V-P but the kids rarely seem to differentiate) teach before.” Mrs. VanNie responded with “Mrs. Skelding is a teacher first”. That was the best compliment I have heard in a long time and I wanted to chime in with “That is right everyone… A teacher first! Whoot Hoot!”

Our Learning Goals:
1. Try a new discussion protocol, World Cafe.
2. Open up dialogue in a safe way about homophobia and bullying.

One of our goals at GDCI this year is to increase the percentage of students who report that they are NOT being bullied at school. To this end, we are encouraging discussion in our classrooms about bullying but also about kindness and compassion.

We began by showing a segment from Ellen,
A Bullied Student Finds an Inspiring Hero

After the video we began the World Cafe protocol. We wanted 6 stations so we used these 6 questions:
1. What would you do/think if this was your car?20121107-182545.jpg
2. What would you do if you heard about this on the news?
3. Why do you think the young man lives with his aunt and uncle?
4. What is Ellen’s influence?
5. How can we transfer this story to our own lives?
6. How could this situation have been prevented?

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The discussion was rich. There was dissonance and it was o.k. The protocol allowed for student voices to challenge each other safely. There was affirmation as well. Students used the graffiti chart to add on to the thinking of a peer and to restate what another had written in their own words. Overall the experience was excellent! Will it make an impact on our safe school goal? Time will tell, but we have opened up an honest conversation about kindness. One student reminded us all that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. Things that make me go “hmmm” indeed!

Published by togetherwise

I rejoice in learning alongside others!

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