Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Well, Wish This Luck Today: Trying Something New in a 5th Grade Collaboration

This is the 3rd semester I'm filling in for a Philosophy of Education course, offering it as a service-learning opportunity for undergraduate students. We read Dewey, Freire, Rizga, Addams, Greene, etc. as the sophomores and juniors think about teaching in the 21st century and begin their own teaching statements.

For two semesters and several weeks I've brought my students to local schools to do service-learning, but this semester I thought it might be clever to bring students to us for some of the time. Why? Because the school where we are doing the service-learning is also part of a state turnaround grant and I've been offering model lessons and curricular support. I thought, "What would it look like if I aimed to meet the objectives of my course with the individual objectives of classroom teachers at the school.

Today, it will be in support of a 5th grade class who is doing research on major influences in Black history. Our job is to take an idea and to apply the concept of leadership to the individuals they have picked. The intent is to help the research process and begin original essays on these inspirational people that others would want to read.

I have an idea. We are going to see how far we can take it.

The beauty of this modeling is that the students will almost get one on one attention from the undergraduate students as we collaborate together on being successful learners. I'm hoping, too, that I can prove that kids are capable of handing more intellectual challenges and will bring in difficult quotes for them to think about (and to show them they know more than they think they know).

There will either be an anvil that falls on my head today, or I will leave with a smile. Either way, I already know that I will be ridiculously exhausted. In arranging this opportunity, several people had to be involved. The kicker? We're doing it three more times with three other grades.

If it works, I think I have a new model to share with others! If it doesn't, I'll admit to defeat and tuck my tail underneath and return to my nerd-dom. Scratch that, I will return to the nerd-dumb no matter what.

Happy Humpday.

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