Posted on September 10, 2017
We have begun to get our feet wet in the realm of inquiry, as the children have started to contemplate and think about the big idea of identity. In writing, the children are hard at work on their All About Me books, which they are taking through the writing process. We've been studying mentor text All About Me books, gleaning and borrowing ideas from published authors, as well as making sure that the books are truly a reflection of what each child believes is a part of them and makes them unique. In the pages of their books, the children have written about the things that they hold dear--ranging from archery to dreams of having a pony to special trips to Vietnam. And, of course, many pages are dedicated to those they love with all of their hearts--family and pets.
We have also begun to have discussions around the question, "What makes us who we are?" which have led to some very interesting insights. After brainstorming ideas in small groups to answer this question, we met as a whole group to talk through our ideas. Here is a paraphrased snapshot of part of that conversation:
B.H. "Something that makes us who we are is our brains."
Teacher: "Tell us more."
B.H. "We all think differently. We don't think the same things."
T.C.: "That would be really creepy, if we all thought the same."
L.N.: "If we all thought the same, we'd even have to have the same names."
E.C.: "We would even look the same."
T.Y.: "That would be boring!"
T.F.: "So boring!"
It was exciting to listen to this conversation unfold and realize that at the heart of it was a message of the power of diversity and the importance of cherishing what makes each of us different--whether our thinking, our names, or our appearance.
Along with these aspects of identity, we have begun to take a closer look at the unique skills and talents that exist within the individuals that make up our class. Wow! What a bunch of talented people we have! To capitalize on these skills and talents, and to help us get to know one another, we are working on creating our own class "Yellow Pages," as a reference book for the year. Just as the Yellow Pages are used by adults to find experts in the world, so, too, will our version be used for children to find experts on skills they want to learn more about. The only difference is that all of our experts go to school together! This project began by having pairs of children interview one another to find out, "What are you really good at?" I am in the process of meeting with each child to discuss their skills further, to determine what materials and support they might need to share their knowledge with the class and teach others. As the children have pointed out, "It is selfish to keep knowledge of these skills to ourselves. We need to share it with others!" This project will continue to grow over time, and we will keep you posted as it takes shape!
Mahalo for working with your child on another important aspect of their identity--their name! We look forward to seeing the responses generated from their research, and can't wait to see where the children might go! Thank you for ensuring the name interview research is complete by this Friday, September 15th.