Friday (October 20, 2006) there was a letter to the editor regarding the students’ pictures from Castle Heights Middle School. Here’s a link if you missed it. http://www.heraldonline.com/124/story/8038.html
I respond to this because many of us knew some of the kids featured and even interviewed for the story that I believe ran Wednesday or Thursday. Here’s that article link:
I have to respond to this because I know some of you know very well some of the students who were featured in the pictures and interviewed for the article. (Several are fromer Northside kids.) It became abundantly clear to me that the students are most definitely learning, and in a most authentic way. Leonard Hayes, a current sixth grader, responded that he was pleased with the nutritional changes of lunch, saying he wants to lose some weight anyway and be “buff” for football. (His word–I promise!) The letter to the paper implied that kids are not learning today because of the observed droopy-eyed students, ones who lounge in class as if in a recliner, and the lack of organization because books and belongings appeared scattered around a desk rather than in it. The author seems to think bringing strong discipline back into the classroom can fix these things.
Well, sorry, but I do not agree. We are challenged daily by what our students bring into the classroom from home. And we must compete wih ipods, mp3 players, cell phones, video games, and late night TV everyday of the week. I do not believe we reach our students and make them smarter through discipline. Students learn when their school work is valued because its authentic, and they are engaged in a lesson. They see significance in what they are learning, and make lifelong and world wide connections to learning. It is not about being messy (which I would wager they do at school because it happens at home), but instead about feeling comfortable enough to relax and soak in their education! Leonard showed me just from his comments that someone has taken the time to help him understand the changes in the cafeteria entres, and that he will be a better person for those changes that have been made. So essentially, somewhere along the way to implelmenting the nutrional changes at Castle Heights, a lesson involving authentic discussion, a comparison of nutritional data, and relevant lessons impacted him so he could understnd and accept the new guidelines without question. Someone over there did a great job!
Read the articles. Tell me what you think! Your technology tidbit here, I guess, is writing a response in a blog. I really want to hear from someone. Help me let others know that learning in the 21st century offers many new challenges, and will look dramatically different from days of old.