Hows that for an egotistical blog post title?
I’ve struggled for a long time to make this blog post. A few weeks ago I got a SMART Notebook file from a grade 6 teacher I worked closely with this year. We worked together on a project called Learning Math Together (LMT). We found ways to connect this grade 6 class to a grade 4/5 class on the other side of the board to do math collaboratively. They used polycom video conference equipment, adobe connect, TIGed, Aviary Education and a few other technologies.
This SMART Notebook file from the teacher was an image they left written comments on with each letter of “Jac Rocks” linked to an audio file of a song. The audio files were all songs created by students to thank me. Normally I would listen to the songs (tear up) and share with a few close friends and family members. I would not post this online to share. BUT… after thinking pretty long about it. I need to share it.
I need to share it because these songs are not a reflection of my work. They are a reflection of their teachers work. I believe their gratitude has been transferred to me, but is truly for their teacher. The world needs to hear more stories of what happened in this grade 6 math class this year (a few posts I’ve written about this class include Plan B’s, day of SMART Boards, music math) .
I was in their class between 6-10 times this year. I helped co-teach lessons with their teacher when she was using a million different tools to connect students. The students loved me because their teacher and I had an excellent collaborative relationship. We got along wonderfully, laughed tons and took lots of risk trying new things. Students pick up on this.
I just played the audio file for my parents. They asked “how did the students know those were the things you were trying to do? That those were your goals?”. They verbalize all the things we hoped they would get out of the math program. The things the students mention in their songs that really make me happy are:
- increased confidence
- math is fun
- many different ways to do things
- taking risk to solve problems and learn is necessary
- have to work hard to solve problems
- try different tools
- they feel smart
All of these things are reflective of the learning environment the teacher set up in her class (not my participation). I got all the thanks from the students because every time I showed up we did something insane, chaotic and fun (hence I was there to help). Realistically, it was the teacher who set up the environment, relationships and learning activities that helped develop these values in her students.
I’ve converted the file to an audio file and roughly removed all the student names. I’ve also taken out the image where the students write me comments. There is fourteen minutes of audio, but listening to even a few minutes is a great way to hear how these students have put value on collaboration, fun, doing things many different ways, taking risk and creativity.
I love when students verbalize the result of reflective practice and ongoing teacher learning. Who better to help us gauge what works and what needs improvement?
Marci (@marciduncan), thank you for a wonderful year and letting me into your class to experience all the great things going on. Congrats on playing a large role in the development and success of 27 amazing children all with different learning needs. You have empowered them to continue their learning in ways that works for them.
I now have to plan my response in song to these amazing students. Any ideas?