Jul 2, 2012

Can All Students Be Treated Equal

Can All Students Be Treated Equal?

I found myself asking these question, "Can students treat other classmates as though they are all equal?  Is there away that they can work together without a hierarchy.  Can students treat others as a whole and have respect for one another?".  Nowadays the big new word is Being Bullied.  Students hear it from social media and it's all over the place.  I don't think all students understand what it really means and hopefully they never have to experience it.  I hear students say "I'm being bullied" I ask them what does that mean?  The most common response that I get is, "I don't know but they are bothering me".  Is being bullied the wrong focus?  Should we focus more on how to teach students to respect each other and treat one another as a whole?  Don't get me wrong, bullying is a problem, but, maybe our focus is in the wrong place.  Maybe the key to solving bullying is to teach students how to work together, respect each other, and hold value for one another.

Is Scrum In Schools The Answer?

I have witnessed first had what Scrum has done to my students self esteem and respect for one another.  If you were to walk in my classroom during a Scrum session you would not be able to tell which students had disabilities or which students are gifted.  The students respect and value each other.  Last week I had a group of students that were working together.  They noticed that one of the students in the class didn't have any group to join.  With out hesitation or direction from myself, they went over and put their arm around him and said, "come on over to our group". Every day I am so touched and moved by what my students have accomplished and the compassion for others that they have gained by doing Scrum in the classroom.

A couple of weeks ago I started my Reading class using the Scrum framework, which consists of six homeroom students and the rest from other classrooms.  This was the first day working on their project.  I have students coming and going during this time because several go to resource.  One of my students came back in the middle of us already starting.  She did not have a group to go to.  She tried to go to one but the students were hesitant to let her in.  Another group saw this and pulled up a chair and said" Hey, don't worry about it, your with us now."  At that moment I could not have been more proud of my students.  It gets me choked up just thinking about it.

My Students Amaze Me Everyday!

My group of students is your normal make up of any class.  When this class was made, know one knew that I would be the teacher.  At that time I was a first grade teacher.  Before the last day of school in May 2011, I had the great opportunity to move up to 4th grade.  When I saw my class list I saw the normal make up of a class ranging from behaviors to all different ability levels and disabilities.  I am amazed with how much my students have grown this year from when they first came to me.  Any visitor coming into the classroom would not know the difference between any student.  I have seen the shy students come out of their shell and state their own opinions.  My students are not afraid to ask for help or let the other students know that they need help.  I believe this is because they have the trust and respect for one another.  My class has used a retrospective board and they post how they are feeling.  They are not afraid to say they are struggling in any area and they are eager to post their achievements and celebrate with each other. 

Last week I was reviewing a math problem with my students.  I had 25 students say that I had the wrong answer.  There was one student in the class that had the same answer as me.  This student is one of the shyest students in class.  He spoke up and said "Mrs. Mills, I got that answer too."  The other students listened to him explain how he got it.  Another student chimed in and said "I get it!"  Then the two of them ran the class discussion explaining how they got the answer.  Before I knew it, I was standing back just listening, then a third student chimed in and explained to the class how he "got it".  I was amazed!  I didn't show them, they taught each other, and before I knew it, they had every student in the class understanding how to solve the problem. This is the power of Scrum, to empower the students and amaze the teacher.

On Behalf of a 4th Grade Teacher , CSM

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John Miller