Today, we build community. I tend to make promises, and recently, in response to a call for more Community Circle, I promised the kids that we would have it once a month. Going a step farther, it was suggested and then agreed upon that we would have it on the first Friday of each month, but since it was after the fact and I already had other plans, this month we are doing it on the second Friday. Promise kept.
As the name suggests, Community Circle is an activity where we sit as a community in a big circle on the floor, responding to prompts both serious and fun, building relationships, creating culture. Kids may share, pass, or ask for a comeback if they are not ready to respond. It is such a great opportunity to simply focus on what matters most in any classroom: the people who fill it. Indeed, I get to learn about the kids. The kids get to learn about each other, and no less importantly, the kids get to learn about me. Additionally, it is an opportunity to further develop the art of good listening. In so many ways it truly is a win, win. Yes, it is a day away from the academic aspects of our experience, but from the very bottom of my being, I believe that real learning requires real relationships. And real relationships are not lucky accidents; they are hard work. They live and breathe, and they need to be nurtured. I choose the work of relationships because learning is no lucky accident either. It, too, needs a steward, and I have found that I best serve that end when I am connected to my kids. Community Circle creates connections. And so, as promises go, this is an easy one to keep.
Speaking of community, yesterday I received an email from Jerry Dawson, a high school English and journalism teacher in East Windsor, New Jersey. His former college professor, Dr. Wilbur Sowder from The College of New Jersey, forwarded yesterday’s blog post to him, and Jerry wanted to offer his words of encouragement for Project 180. I had no idea that the word of the project had arrived on the East Coast, but I was thrilled to learn that our community is growing. Welcome Jerry and Dr. Sowder! We are pleased to have you as members of our small community.
Happy Friday, all. West Coast peeps be safe in the storm.