Each week I seek to make myself unnecessary. I intentionally take myself off the stage, so the students may star. And that is not easy. I like the stage; I like the spotlight. So, giving it up has been difficult; however, doing so has led me to one of my most important and humbling discoveries in my recent efforts to do better. I am not a star. And the “show” has suffered for it. Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings have been unkind, but not out of line. To be sure, the lead has been miscast for years. And I’ve no one to blame but myself. Vanity and ignorance are poor guides for making such important decisions. So, to make up for my misguided notions of the past, I am pointing the spotlight on those who should have been center stage all along.
Here is my general approach to that end…
- …provide a script that outlines the learning opportunity.
- …make collaboration and discussion a priority.
- …provide choice.
- …create independent and group responsibilities.
- …make no mention of grades.
- …relegate myself to a minor supporting character.
This week it took the form of something I am calling “Table Talk.” We are beginning our Holocaust/Injustice Unit, and I wanted to get the kids talking and thinking about injustice. Here is the “script” that I provided.
Here is what it looked like.
My biggest regret is that I cannot share what it sounded like, but if one had been present, one would have heard kids digging deeply into profound discussions about justice. And I? Well, I just sat back and enjoyed the show. Next time, I am bringing popcorn. As for the Tomatometer? Certified Fresh. 100%. Nothing rotten here. Just magic.
Along today’s trail we will…
…begin with Smiles and Frowns.
…finish our “Table Talk.”
…read and do a SOAPSTone analysis of Elie Wiesel’s Nobel acceptance speech for Night.
…reflect in our Journey Journals.
…end with a Sappy Sy Rhyme.
Happy Thursday, all.
Do. Reflect. Do Better…and avoid rotten tomatoes.
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