In the 1940’s, Maslow said it:
full bellies + safe bodies + happy hearts + thriving self = engaged learning
This week it popped up on my feed:
respect given + respect received = engaged learning
And Friday, it blossomed in my classroom:
family potluck + words of gratitude = engaged learning
Actually, I don’t know yet, for sure, with quantitative numbers and qualitative studies, if my Friday activity will result in engaged learning. But I just don’t care.
Because it meant so much more.
These words are the sentiments from the students after our Thanksgiving celebration as a classroom family. We began by writing notes of gratitude to each other. Each student had a poster, and as we sat family-style, we passed them around and wrote words of encouragement, thankfulness, and praise–light–to each other.
As usual, at first there was confusion and chaos, as is the case with any newly initiated task in any high school, anywhere. But then it got quieter and quieter, more focused and more heavy as the students felt the weight of giving this joy. There were traffic jams as some students wrote more, meanwhile side chit-chats and songs and obnoxious complaining and sessions of giggles popped up elsewhere.
You know–family bonding.
Then we feasted. Homemade donuts and posole and cake and arroz and enchiladas and perogies…yep, my students know how to do it right.
And while we feasted, we gave thanks. We whipped around the circle (rectangle, really) and shared, through many tentative tears and much hearty laughter, what we are thankful for this holiday season.
I’m grateful for my parents.
I’m alone at home; but when I come here I’m not.
You make me smile…and that’s pretty important.
I don’t have a family at home, and you have shown me I have one here.
Yep, it got me “in the feels” too (as my kiddos say). It was a good day in the classroom.
It was a good day as a human.