Give them time

Another great Dr. Gholdy Muhammad quote for the wall

Every day I sit and consider the work I ask my students to complete. WHat tasks we will be exploring. I think about how I am honoring their time. This last week we started a new semester.

We did some quick writing tasks. I made sure to take the time to share. I find we forget about that a lot. I wrote alongside them. We talked about good books. On day 2 we looked at the course outline and talked about the Grade-less approach I use in the classroom. Day 3 we talked about Multimodal work and then listened to the incredible Jason Reynolds perform For Everyone.

As students listened they wrote down the phrases that stood out to them. After watching they had so many lines written down. The next step will be to take those lines and create. Playing around with multimodal representation kids will explore. Last semester kids made movies, musical representations, wrote lyrics to an inspired song, and created works of art.

Ultimately students always ask,

“Mr.G, how much time do we have for this before it is homework?”

“How much time do we need?” is always the response.

I think one of the reasons beyond just the brilliance of her words that I like to put Dr. Muhammad’s words on our walls is because I want my students to know I mean them. I want visitors to room 157 to know that my beliefs cover our walls.

I am always so impressed with this first project with my students because it gives them a chance to sit with their thinking. To dig into new ideas and play around. By laying out the grade-less thinking before we start the biggest roadblock to learning is removed. Students become chance takers.

While the semester is just getting started and we all know there is a lot to do we need to remember to take the time to sit with our thinking. To allow things to take root so we have a stronger understanding. Urgency kills creativity. The idea that we must be ruled by deadlines doesn’t encourage students to create or take chances. I don’t know an assignment that is more important than letting our students find that genius within. There shouldn’t be a timeframe for that.

Here are a few examples of past work from this assignment.

Just give them time and space to grow. They will.

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