Changing the World

Capture

I wrote last week about my Year Eight students and the mini project they were doing to end the year.  I am incredibly impressed and proud of what they have achieved, especially one group.

I have kids who are wrapping almost-new second-hand books and making cards which will be delivered to the children’s ward at the local hospital.  Others are making videos with a social justice theme and posting them YouTube. Still others are writing letters to encourage people to consider partnering with an aid agency to support impoverished people.  A couple of individuals are creating social-justice themes art work.

But the group that are impressing me most are those students who have created an awareness campaign and are promoting it through social media.  do a search for #Heart2Change in twitter or instagram, or look up Heart2Change of FaceBook to see what they are doing    It is such a simple but powerful concept.  The students are encouraging people to put the heart2change symbol (above) on their wrist as a way of engaging people in conversation; a way of explaining that they have a heart to change the world, that others can have a heart to change, and that, together, we can change hearts.  How great is that?  simple, effective, and a clear message.  A couple from this group were even interviewed on the local community radio station this morning.

I really hope this concept goes viral (like the ice bucket challenge) but if it doesn’t, I am still incredibly impressed with that these kids have achieved.  Their thinking and discovery and problem solving… and their passion… has been astounding.

Please check them out and join their movement to change the world.

I cannot imagine a more exciting place to be working than here at my school with my young adolescents and in this wonderful, collaborative environment.

 

Richard Turere (age 13): My invention that outsmarted lions

Here is another TED talk I’d encourage you to watch.  Richard Turere is a young man from Nairobi who, while woking on his father’s farm caring for the cattle, came up with an invention to keep the lions away.  As he says, a way to ‘protect the lions and protect the cattle’.

This is an incredible story well worth watching from the introductory documentary to the TED interview with Richard.  I’m sure you will be inspired by what can be achieved by passionate young adolescents.

Will you view your students differently now you have watched this?

 

Homework

Aaah… Homework!  That perennial topic of debate for teachers, students and parents.

A couple of years ago I read an article from Fires in the Mind that proposed homework should take the form of deliberate practice.  I encourage you to have a read of the article – it has some very valuable content.  You’ll note that I left a response to the article which positions me quite clearly.    🙂

I see homework as an extension of my evaluation of the students’ knowledge acquisition. The classroom is a supportive learning environment. It will be a place where students can seek immediate answers and encouragement in their learning. Home is likely to be different. And homework allows me to put the students in a place where they need to think more independently; to consolidate their learning. Yes, they might struggle. But, in some ways, that’s what I want to see.
What do you believe about homework?  Is it essential, valuable or unnecessary?
How does homework feature in your classroom?