This blog is in response to the #blogamonth topic.
I am a teacher. Regardless of the role I hold in a school, I will always consider myself a teacher first.
Each week I take the opportunity to meet with each grade level to talk about a variety of topics that could loosely be categorized as character education (sometimes we talk about food, which I always feel is part of character ed, but some might not agree). A strategy that I have utilized very often is to share a couple brief (this is key- 1-3 minutes) videos that are related on some topic, and then let the kids respond, let them connect the messages, let them synthesize what the intention of the collection might be, let them discuss with each other how the topic is relevant to them as individuals and as a group.
For example, as many of you know, I have written about resilience, grit, growth mindset, and overcoming obstacles very often on this blog. A few weeks back, I shared the following videos with the 6th grade and 7th grade (during individual sessions for each grade level).
Before I shared them, I explained that I had a dual purpose in choosing this group of videos. I did not tell my students what the primary purpose was for the selection, but I did share that a secondary purpose was to show different methods of presenting information to an audience by appealing to emotions. Each video utilizes sound (music), voice over &/or text, brief changing clips of images, and the growth mindset video mixes music, text, and graphics that are choreographed together with a shifting of speeds for a powerful emotional effect.
So when the students watch the videos, they are aware not only of the actual content and messages, but also how the message is being conveyed. Ultimately, if the messaging methods are effective for the audience, the students add to the take away an additional presentation strategy to put in their toolbox for future presentations that they create on their own.
However, the priority in sharing a strategically selected collection such as the one above is to “start the fire” for a conversation about these important values, traits, and attitudes. While I control what is shared through the collection, how it is received, interpreted, and applied to individuals and the group comes from the kids processing the videos and sharing their thoughts.
Oftentimes, I need to say very little or nothing at all, yet I have done my job as teacher because I have created an environment of trust and respect, and a “lesson” from which rich discussion and learning happens.
Incidently, the conversation amongst the 6th graders was very different from the 7th grade talk. Different kids, different dynamics, different age- all will have an influence on the experience.
I encourage you all to try this process and please let me know if you have any good recommendations for me to try in my weekly session with the kids.