Which Words Rule Our Lives?
It’s important for us that we know the words that rule our lives. This is a great activity I learned from my own high school students, Taylor and Cody. The assignment was for each of my students who aspired to be future teachers, to teach a lesson in front of their classmates. At the time of this assignment the classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are had just been made into a movie and was being shown in theaters. Taylor and Cody began their lesson by having the students watch the movie trailer. In a very effective style the trailer pointed out that each of us has three words within us. We all possess a little fear. We all crave a little adventure. And we all need a little hope.
How clever Taylor and Cody were to get Hollywood to create the hook for their lesson! The movie trailer was quite effective and had every student’s attention. The “teachers” then asked the class to focus on those three words: fear, adventure and hope.
Decide which one of those words rules your life.
Think about it and then share it with your peers.
After a few minutes of thought they brought the class together into a cozy circle.
Each student truthfully described which of these three words currently seemed to dominate their lives. They were very honest and revealing. (I believe students truly want to share what is on their minds. I’ve seen it too many times to be wrong about this). It is the challenge of an insightful teacher to find a vehicle that will encourage that sharing.
After everyone had shared their thoughts, the teaching partners posed a second question…
Are you satisfied with the word that seems to drive your life right now?
Once again the students took turns sharing their answers. This kind of activity will only be successful if a teacher has previously created a safe, accepting environment in which all students feel free to share. Once again the answers were candid and insightful. This activity forced each of us to assess our lives. It forced us to evaluate our motives, to really think about the choices we were making and whether those choices served us well. It also built tremendous understanding and empathy among class members. It deepened our sense of community. As a side benefit it is important to recognize…bullies can’t thrive when you build a sense of acceptance within a classroom community. How proud I was of my students for creating such an effective experience for our class.
Is there one word that seems to drive your life? Fear? Adventure? Hope? Which one is it? I always participate fully in any revealing activity like this in my classroom. It bonds the teacher with the class. It builds understanding across generations and defines the classroom as a safe place. Even more important it shows the students the teacher is willing to talk about feelings. It gives them the courage to approach the teacher when something really important is on their minds. It puts a welcome mat in front of the door to your classroom and your heart.
Thank you Taylor and Cody, for creating this wonderful lesson for me to share with others!
TEACH…To Change Lives
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