Domino Effect

If you haven’t gotten your hands on Carol Ann Tomlinson’s article in Educational Leadership, November 2017 it is a must read! Her article, Citizenship at Its Core, reminds us that if we want to prepare our students to become good citizens of our world we must start in the classroom.

She writes about how complicated our world is and as teachers how we are charged with helping our students navigate heavy issues like conflict, injustice, poverty, and much more. This article reads much like a guide to how we work to create classroom communities where students can be dignified with the heavy task of learning to be a good citizen of our world.

She states…“It’s daunting work to create a classroom world that models what we hope the broader world could be.” –Carol Ann Tomlinson

I was highly encouraged by her piece. Encouraged make time to listen, respond, and make space for children to explore the issues they see in their world. Also to be more intentional about taking instructional leads from their voices.

In late February, Aliza sent me a tweet to check out the kid section in the New York Times. Little did I know the domino effect the tweet would cause. At the end of the kid section there was a page of opinion lines that sparked emotional conversations that lasted for days and left a trail of passionate learning artifacts that looks like this:

IMG_0017These statements led to this…

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Which prompted students to create this…

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That sparked the idea to make this…

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And excited others to think about this…

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Which made others want to develop this…

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My students have been busy creating public service announcements, writing speeches, making signs for our school, and trying to plan field trips to places they can go and make a difference. As Carol Ann Tomlinson reminds us that, creating citizens starts in our classrooms, as a classroom teacher I see everyday how passionate these young citizens are about what happens around them.  This group of second graders, much like most children around them, want to save the world NOW as in TODAY! Exciting times.

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