Welcome to my adventure. This blog started out focused on parenting and school but now that Katie's nearly baked, it's way more about me these days. My experiences, more likely my point of view and good times to share.
Welcome! I'm glad to have you aboard.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Students Helping Students: They Can Lift Each Other Up (Academically)

The coolest thing happened yesterday. I didn't expect it to be cool. I thought it was going to be a nightmare. But man, it turned out awesome.

Imagine, it's Monday: the day after Halloween (where we somehow picked up two extra kids along the way who ended up back at our house to watch the Giants win Game 4). I am still in recovery from the big night. And we are having company for dinner to watch Game 5.

It's within that context that Katie rushes up to me after school  making the case for why her two girlfriends should come over right now so they could do an "important class assignment" together. I had one of those bi-polar parent moments vacillating between "are you freaking kidding me?" (my goodness, don't we need a little quiet in our lives) and "awesome, that'd be fun!" (because I really needed to be supportive and many hands make light work, right?).

Now a quick parent to parent note: These two friends are not who I would normally choose for my kid. They have a harder time with school. And I worry that Katie might get slowed down or distracted taking the time to help them. It's sounds awful to write it, but I think everyone's been in this spot before. And of course, I kept those feelings to myself.

My daughter, ever the lawyer-in-training, assured me they would stay in her room and stay on track! Yeah, right, I thought. At a minimum I am going to have to feed everyone! Sheesh. But, they piled in the car and off we went.

But then it started to happen. One of those times when you see or hear your child in a way you have never experienced them before.

Katie got them wrangled (and fed) and started them out with brainstorming. They had a white board and went through a series of ideas before they started working. I could hear distractions come up - typically ideas that would derail the plan - and Katie would listen, acknowledge the idea and then explain how they would consider it later in the process where it was more appropriate. Who was this kid?

They all worked industriously on the project; Katie rushing around fetching supplies. At one point she called out, "Just a minute, don't use ink, we need to proofread it!" Holy cow! That's usually my line! Then, they came out of the bedroom (on time) and they had produced a beautiful, collaborative project! (I wish I had taken a picture but the game started and then we won the World Series, so I kind of forgot!).

But the best part happened this morning. Katie took the project in early so it wouldn't get messed up before fifth period. I guess her teacher loved it. And she really loved that Katie worked with her two friends. She felt so good about what they did together.

In these times when kids are struggling at school, I really think we need to look for more opportunities for the kids to lift each other up. No one is an expert at everything (we adults know that) and we need each other to truly succeed.

I can't think of a better way to build future bridges than to get kids working together today - on math, science, English - anything that requires listening, patience and collaboration. My goodness, one day, they could end up in Congress!

There might be hope for America yet!

PS: Yeah Giants!
  

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