Lately, we’ve been reading biographies of activists: Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Faith Ringgold, Barack Obama, and others. In each case, we’ve noticed that the activists believe in something, and they stand up for what they believe in. We’ve talked about how these people, and activists at large, use all sorts of different tools–politics, music, illustrations, sports–to convince the people around them of what they know to be right.
This past Monday, I staged an opportunity for the students to be activists. During free choice time, the principal stormed into our classroom, and demanded an end to the play. She announced that at school, students should always been doing work! The students were VERY upset.
Throughout the week, my 2nd grade activists worked in small groups to write letters, decorate signs, and compose songs that expressed why they believed they deserve free choice time. They were incredibly engaged in the process and very dedicated to the task at hand. It was awesome to see them work collaboratively and feel true motivation for productivity.
Today, the principal came back to our class to hear what the students had to say. I wish I videotaped their phenomenal presentations. But, alas, some quotes from their work is what I have to share:
“We love our choice time. We can fight with our hearts to get it back.”
“I know we come to school to learn, but playing is important too.”
“We learn to work together and we practice talking kindly to each other during choice time.”
“Even if this seems fair to you, this doesn’t seem fair to us.”
“We love choice time and so does Mrs. A because we all have fun together.”
“We should have choice time because we learn about how to color and use numbers when we play with dominoes.”
“We are a team during choice time.”
“Please listen to us. Love, our class.”
And of course, the students had the satisfaction of seeing their hard work pay off. We celebrated the principal’s decision today by ending our week with some wonderful play time. I hope that as the years pass, I somehow get to see these kids applying their skills and spirits to change the world for the better. They can do it.