lessons my students teach me

Last Tuesday I asked my students, would you rather play a sport or watch one. As always their answers gave me more than I expected.

S: I’d rather play. You learn more when you do something.
What we know a teachers and learners. We need time to do the work. Just watching will not make us proficient.

E: It depends. If it is something I know how to play then playing. And it depends if it they are playing at my skill level. I don’t like it when I’m pushed to do something I am not able to.
Ah, the zone of proximal development. If E was asked to play with handball with 4th graders, she’s in. But if you put her in a basketball game with people who are way above her skill level, no way.

A: I want to play! It’s more fun to do.
Yes, fun matters. It keeps us engaged.

H: Watching it is important. That is how you learn when you are new at something. I’d rather study it for a while. To understand the rules before I try and get really confused.
Mentors matter. We study them before try it ourselves.

C: I think a mix is a good idea. Watch then try. Then watch again.
Go back to the mentor texts to revise.

X: I’d rather watch. It’s stressful. If I make a mistake it’s all on me.I might do the wrong thing.
Low stakes opportunities are crucial. When we learn we are vulnerable.

I was not prepared for this :

D: Neither. Right now it isn’t safe to go to games or play them.

Whoa. Of course. Like us, our children have been at home. Restricted from so much because it isn’t safe. They know what is going on. And now we are asking them to go back to school.

It’s hard for adults to flip the switch. Yesterday was dangerous. Shelter in place. Today, it’s all good. Open things up. Why wouldn’t a child feel a bit nervous about the prospect of reentering the world.

As much as I wanted to reassure D, I understood his concern and me telling him it’s ok, don’t worry, experts say… feels wrong. Re entering the world isn’t just about moving out of the purple tier. It is an emotional family decision. My heart aches for all of my students and their families as they make the decision to return to school or continue in remote learning.

Last Tuesday, I learned about my students. By asking a question I learned about how they best learn, how they internalize expectations, how they feel about reentering the world, and how wise they are.

Day 12, Slice of Life Challenge. Read more slices here.

Asking students accessible questions is centering.

This week I asked my kiddos these questions:
Monday: What’s your favorite type of birthday cake?
Tuesday: Would your rather play or watch sports?
Wednesday: If you could turn one food that is healthy into an unhealthy food, so your family wouldn’t make you eat it, what would it be?
Thursday: If you could mute anyone in your household who would it be?

Today: If you could change one thing about this class – that is changeable – what would you change?