This past school year has been remarkable, to say the least. What began as a desire to help our local food bank led our class on a journey I had no intention of taking. We worked with local artists to make the food bank more welcoming; we created PSAs that received airtime, were featured on Treehugger, presented to the Lambton Kent District School Board of Trustees, spoke at Tedx Chatham-Kent, donated food from our indoor organic vegetable garden, worked on a photo project with The Chatham Daily News photojournalist Diana Martin, held an art auction and a community corn roast.
All around the issue of food security.
Who would have thought that a group of 20 grade 2 and 3 students would care so much about food. Certainly not me. Yet, they were the most passionate group of students that I have ever had the opportunity to teach.
Along the way I somehow got confused as someone that was on expert on the topic of food security; who happened to share my passion with my students. This is not at all the case. I barely know how to cook. My 13 year old daughter jokes that our stove is an art piece and my 10 year old son recently gave me a high five for FINALLY making sunny side up eggs without destroying them. And, while I was writing this, I burnt the bacon.
What I am passionate about is listening and responding to student voice. Shaping curriculum delivery and integrating topics and activities that students care about undeniably engage student and result in greater success. These little game changers are completely responsible for the successes in our learning community this year. Every time myself or our principal thought that their interest would fizzle out they would surprise us and lead us in a new direction. I looked for opportunities to tie their interests, projects and learning into curriculum and ensured that their work was purposeful. Curriculum was covered, students were engaged and the learning was meaningful. That to me, is the greatest achievement of the year.
Someone recently asked me how I would top last year. I won’t. I don’t expect to. Each group of students is unique and so each school year is different. I do however look forward to a new year of adventures and learning!