Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Celebrate?

Our students work hard.  They struggle. They flex their learning muscles. They problem solve when working together or alone.  They stay focused on tasks for long periods of time.  They work hard.  Each of them in their own way, based upon their individual strengths and weaknesses.  Taking time to celebrate this at the end of a unit, task, or project is an opportunity.

Celebrate.  Give students the opportunity to share what they learned; about the content, process, or themselves.  When students share what they learned they are owning it, making it theirs.  It becomes an experience that they will remember for a lifetime.  The memory may begin, "Do you remember when I did that play?"  In the end, they recall every thing they did throughout the process; collecting information, writing a script, creating scenery and costumes, memorizing lines.  They recall the content and concepts that it was demonstrating, "I was a monkey in the Rain Forest and was trying to save my home from animal poachers."  They realize that they can now do something that they previously could not.  They gain new interests, "I usually only draw, but I tried to write a song this time and realized that I like writing."  

CelebrateKeep the classroom community and strong and honor two fundamental human needs.  Children need to share what they learned.  Have a child share what they learned with their peers and they feel valued, important.  Particularly when those peers listen attentively and provide positive constructive feedback.  Have everyone in a group share and everyone feels included.  Children often feel left out because they are excluded from something their peers are participating in.  Including all children in celebrations keeps the ugly cycle of resentment and negative behavior at bay. 

Celebrate.  Take the time to have fun.  Learning should be fun, otherwise why take the time to learn?  While the work itself can be fun, the fun need not stop when it is time to share.   Clap for each other.  Cheer each other on.  Tell each other what was done well and say it in a sincerely congratulatory way.  So, why not pay attention to learning?  Celebrate it!