Saturday, February 28, 2015

When Students Become Co-Workers

I've already written a bit about our recent day long project with a fantastic group of 6th graders and their teachers. A lot of great things happened that day- one of the most thought provoking was a shift in the "work" relationship between myself and some of our high school students.

We always have students that are willing to volunteer, whether its a giving a visitor a tour through our school, lots and lots of jobs related to putting on NovaNow, and our rock project was no different.

The 6th graders we hosted were pre-divided into teams, and each team received a high school team leader from us. The teams were tasked with learning about a specific type of rock unique to Michigan and creating a commercial convincing the public that their rock and specific location were worthy of visitation.

In our initial debriefing with our high school team leaders (many of them my own students, others will be next year) and in various check ins throughout the day I found myself saying things like "Remember, you guys are facilitators" and "Support your team. Ask good questions. Help them go deeper" and "Alright, let's do this."

Early in the morning I had a somewhat frantic conversation with Zach. "Uh... are these little kids going to be able to get on the Wifi with their Chrome books? Is the public network up right now? Yeah... could you make sure that happens? We kind of need it." He promptly went through the proper channels (he's in the IT program and knows these people), and just as promptly contrived a don't-ask-any-questions-about-this work around in case Plan A took to long (funny story with that...).

To Emmy I said something like "Hey, that group is on the struggle bus. Can you figure out what their deal is and get them back on track? Let me know if you need help." I had no lingering concerns.

To Makenzie, "Oh good, you have your camera." She didn't need much more instruction than that.

Our high school students were an integral part of pulling of this day. A vital part. My fellow science teachers and I worked with them on this project. We functioned together as team mates. That's pretty special. I want to do more of it.

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