I have been reminded of the importance of student voice and again today. We are finishing up four-week units on opinion writing and fictional character studies. We are online. We only have two teamwide literacy lessons a week. It was a challenge to decide how to squish in all that I hoped to accomplish in 8 lessons each for reading and writing. Some days it felt like it was all a bit out of reach- so little time, so much to do.
Today listening to third graders share what lessons Dyamonde had learned and how she resolved her big problem(s) (I chose Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel– it conveniently had 8 chapters, as our mentor text) I was wowed at how much they had learned as they used evidence from the text as they talked about how they knew the character had changed and what she drew on to make the change.
Then there was the writing unit. The students chose their topics- something they thought people should notice/appreciate or something they thought was a problem that should be addressed. Here is another place where their individuality came out. Problems ranged from air pollution to covid and bullying. There were many other things that the third graders thought should be appreciated- football, the sport field/gym, drawing, dogs as the ideal pet, Sunway Lagoon, butterflies, parents, food, books, bees, the library, Central Park, and me all made their writing. Their topics really mattered to them, and as a result they worked hard in this challenging time to push themselves in writing. They crafted but by bit, took on feedback and improved their work.
I was so impressed as I immersed myself in their thinking today. They were really giving their best at a time when it would be understandable to give up on online school. These third graders are making sure that their ideas were shared as effectively as possible. Our future is in good hands with these thinkers and advocates ready to take the lead.