A Little Sunshine for My Students

I had so much fun doing my Sunshine post. I thought about things I hadn’t considered in years. As I was working on it, I couldn’t help but think, this would be great for my students.

With this in mind, my colleague and I worked on some kid-friendly questions. We decided only 10, being the average age of our fifth graders.

Ten Questions

  1. If you had superpowers, what power would you pick?
  2. What lessons have you learned from a parent (mom or dad)?
  3. Tell something about an adult (other than your parents) who meant a lot to you.
  4. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would you choose?
  5. If you could take anything to a desert island, what would it be?
  6. What song has lyrics (words) that speak to your heart?
  7. What do you do when you’re bored?
  8. What frustrates you the most?
  9. What are you afraid of?
  10. If you could go back and change one thing in the past, what would it be?

Random Facts: I think the “random facts” section is the most intriguing part of the Sunshine post process. What you pick says something in itself. So of course, students get to choose 10 random facts about themselves.

Passing on the Sunshine: Why not have students pass on the process? Students can create their own questions and  “nominate” other people in their lives. No numbers here, as many as they want.

I’m hoping to get a few things out of this process:

  1. Student self reflection — Everyone struggles with this. The more we do the better we get at it.
  2. Teacher information — I learned so much about bloggers reading their posts; I can’t wait to see what students will share.
  3. Seeds for memoir — Students, just like us, think they have nothing to say. But they do, it’s just buried in the day-to-day doings, just like us. Perhaps this process will help them find a few things that trigger an important moment that has shaped them.
  4. Seeds for future posts — I want students to use their blogs in a more reflective manner. Perhaps these lists will be a go-to tool for that purpose.
  5. Enhancing relationships — I’m wondering who they will pass the sunshine to? Friends, family, teachers, the principal.

So here’s to sharing the Sunshine with my students.

6 thoughts on “A Little Sunshine for My Students

  1. Julieanne,
    I can’t wait to see how your students respond to your student sunshine post. What a perfect way to learn more about your students and plant some seeds for memoirs, etc.

    I wonder about doing this at the beginning of the year with say just three or four questions and maybe not the expectation to nominate others. And then about Thanksgiving, opening up the full process with guidelines, questions, and facts that are “different” from the beginning of the year!

    Great thinking! Happy 2014!

    • I had that same thought about the beginning of the year. I do a questionnaire and get some good info from that. Perhaps a few questions like you suggest or random facts about themselves to start out the year would be good. I think the big questions like fear needs to come later. Great idea to track how we’ve grown, with a revisit at Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  2. Julieanne,
    What a fantastic idea! I’m very interested in what students say. I also love the way you tie this back to reflection. What a difficult, but so worthwhile thing to do.

    Like you, the random facts are the most interesting to me. What does one chose to share? Leave out?

    This will take some risk, won’t it. They might share a part of themselves that leaves them a bit vulnerable. They might even feel that finger linger over the “publish” button before the push. We’ve all felt that, too. (I feel it before each comment and post!) I’m very interested to see what they (maybe even the boys in particular) say about what they are afraid of, if they venture there. I’m thinking about this since one of the boys I know has been writing a lot about family (there are troubles); I think it’s been good for him — that’s where his heart is, and it’s good to talk from the heart — but since that’s where his heart is, that’s also where his pain (and fear) lies right now. Do you know if they’ve read what you’ve written? If so, what did they say/think??

    I am very interested to see how this goes! Thanks for sharing this idea. You have so many wonderful ones!

    • Steve,
      It is risky! I’m starting them out on paper, so it’s private. I’ll let them go to the blog if they choose. It was an option for us, I think they should have the same freedom. I’m going to ask them to develop a few of their answers. Really interested in what they choose to pursue. Like you say, talking from the heart is good for them. It isn’t always comfortable but that’s how we might start to figure things out. I doubt any have seen what I’ve written, so I’m going to share my post, and little of the history behind it. I’ll keep you posted on the journey. It should be interesting.

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