Even after 20+ years of teaching, graduation season serves as a reminder of what it’s all about. Seeing the 2021 graduates walk the halls of their former elementary schools in their caps and gowns reminds me that THIS is what we are working towards. We are working together as a team of elementary, middle, and high school teachers to help students reach this milestone of High School Graduation.
I love Penn Manor’s tradition of having former students parade around in their caps and gowns while younger students look up to them as if they were famous youtubers or TikTok sensations! Having the little ones see the graduates reminds them what it’s all about as well.
Having former students visit their elementary school classrooms and their teachers is a win win. Students reminisce about the wonderful memories they made and teachers get to see first hand the fruits of their labor. Hearing students refer to our gifted classroom as their favorite place in the school, the place they learned to be who they are, and the place they found their voice reminds me of the value of my work. Yes, I teach content. But above all, I teach students to listen to their voices, to get to know who they are, and to be their best selves.
Congratulations class of 2021! I wish you all a lifetime of learning!
Seventh graders just finished a mini unit designed to broaden their understanding of what it means to be gifted, and help them realize that using the word “smart” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface! Students listed 12-15 characters from books, movies, history that they consider to be smart. Then, they chose three characters from their list and identified at least 3 specific compliments they could give them beyond using the word, “smart”. For each compliment, they explained their reasoning with supporting evidence.
Finally, they were charged with writing a story where two characters teamed up to solve a problem (of their choosing) using their unique strengths. Students read each others stories and identified the many ways people can be “smart”. Finally, students identified 3 specific strengths of their own and unpacked what it means to be gifted.
This is what students had to say about the mini unit:
I liked being able to come up with different words to describe the word “smart”.
I liked looking at myself and my strengths and weaknesses.
I gained a better understanding of what smart means.
Smart doesn’t mean getting all “A’s”.
I learned a lot about myself, and this unit helped me recognize what I am good at.
I was able to be very creative by selecting two characters, that would not otherwise be in the same situation, and have them team up to solve a problem.
It expanded my mind to think in new ways.
My brain is different than most other people.
That I’m in this class because of certain strengths that I have and I can expand on them.
I don’t need to always shoot for the A in a class and I need to always do my best and whatever my best is needs to be enough for me.
There are many different ways to think and people have many different strengths.
I think lessons like this are helpful for me because it lets me know I am not the only one who feels the way I do sometimes. I always associate my self worth with my grades and how well I do things and it was nice to know I am not the only one.
This unit made me feel more “normal” about the way my brain works.
This unit made me think about what I am good at and what I’m not. Which is very helpful in the sense of what I might do in the future.
The Wittel Farm Growing Project in E-town provides a great opportunity for anyone to volunteer all summer long. This non-profit grows food organically to be put back into the food relief system in Lancaster County. Volunteers of all ages (individuals/groups) are welcome to the farm to help plant, weed & maintain, and later in the season – harvest crops. If you have students looking for volunteer/service hour opportunities, this is a great match. There are openings to volunteer Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays all summer long. Below is the link to the website and the Sign-up Genius:
Students ages 11-19 year old are encouraged to add the New York Times to their summer reading list! Every week, participants are asked to choose something in The Times that has piqued their interest, and then tell why. At the end of the week, judges from the Times newsroom pick their favorite responses, and publish them. It’s that simple
The goals include — helping students become more aware of the world and their place in it; learning how to navigate sophisticated nonfiction; and practicing writing for an audience.
Every Friday starting on June 11, the New York Times will post a fresh version of this question: “What got your attention in The Times this week?”Here is an example from last summer. How you respond to this question will depend on your age
Students ages 11 to 12 in the United States and Britain — and ages 11 to 15 elsewhere in the world — can have an adult submit a comment on their behalf via a short form that will be embedded in each week’s post.