I miss the working with kids. While I am infinitely entertained by my 7 nieces and nephews, they tire of being ‘in my class’ as I try to recreate a little classroom magic when they come to hang out. So when Brianna Fleetham emailed me in early December sharing that she and her colleagues were working through a unit that was similar to the Power of One unit that I did with my middle schoolers in Flagstaff (10 years ago, oh man), I was interested in hearing more about her project, thrilled to answer questions and definitely worked to get myself invited to school to chat with the kids.
Yesterday, that visit came to fruition. For the entire day, I was able work with the students of Levi P. Dodge Middle School in Farmington, MN to talk about my experiences working with kids and the Power of One, what it was like to hear Paul Rusesabagina (Hotel Rwanda) speak and what it was like to meet him. But the better part of the day was listening to the students discuss their ideas about what makes someone an ‘upstander’ (opposite of bystander) like Paul, who they think exemplifies that descriptor and in general what resonates with them about the story. There were all kinds of little moments where I could see kids start to think about what matters to them, what they think and how to take those ideas and start asking more questions.
I could not have had a better day. While I enjoy the work that I do now, that it is relevant and meaningful… I will always contend that a room full of students, buzzing with questions, excited to investigate those questions, ready to create from what they discover… That is a magical thing. Thanks to the teachers at Levi P. Dodge Middle School for opening your doors to me. I cannot wait to see what the students create!