Brothers & Sisters,
The above quote by Benjamin Franklin resonates deep within me as I reflect on today's teaching session. From the beginning, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't just in a classroom with a bunch of students lecturing away. It was important to me that we had a conversation about everything we were reading. It is my thoughts that having a discussion about the lessons you're involved in helps cement the significant points in your conscious mind.
These thoughts were affirmed today when the theme of what we should be doing with our lives: "we should all want to live a good life," came through almost immediately. They were listening! Then we were talking about things we were grateful for and boom another lesson from yesterday sprung right up: I'm thankful that I'm here for another day and for a new day. Now some of you might think that it's pretty profound for 7th graders to be thinking about this but I assure you that the conversation that revolved around this notion was nothing but incredible and insightful.
I continue to be amazed at the questions that are asked and the capacity of the class to answer the questions that their classmates bring up. One of the goals for today was to make sure that we listen to each other, appreciate what is being shared and formulate an opinion to share about the thought. For children this can be difficult as resorting to "no, that's wrong" or "you're stupid" is far more comfortable. But I challenged them on those comments. If you're going to respond to a thought that your classmate just said you have to back it up and tell us why you feel the way you do.
This type of conversational teaching has the class engaged, thinking differently and gaining a much deeper understanding of the content that we're moving through than if it were me just standing in front of them lecturing the entire time. I feel like I could teach like this forever.