The new school year is in full swing, and the jitters of the first couple weeks are subsiding. Students know which classes to go to when, and teachers are calling on students without glancing at the class roster (at least not too often). With procedures and protocols out of the way, I am reminded of one of the most essential jobs we have as educators: helping each child become all he or she can be. It’s an exciting and challenging task—and a terrifically rewarding one.
My challenge to my fourth graders from the beginning of the year: What is your genius? What is your contribution to the world? How will you help others feel like “They Matter”? As each year starts, students and I have the opportunity of many “firsts.” Each student is creating his/her own “verse” on a daily basis. The first few weeks of school have set the tone for the entire year. Continuing to build a relationship with each child is so important as teachers embark upon a journey of a new year.
Our team started off by watching Angela Maier’s video from this summer You Matter! They sat silent and glued to the screen as she shared her passion. After watching the video students had lots of questions and comments.
Madison – “What does contribution mean?”
Brie – “I am not a genius. I don’t know what I can share.”
Eme – “Can I share more than one genius?”
Peyton – “Can my genius be in sports?”
Jaxon – “Will we be bragging?”
Our fourth grade team decided it would be wonderful to share their genius with others. Ava thought we might be able to inspire others. They each wanted to create and share their genius with the world. So I kept my mouth closed and let them create.
Before they began, we watched another video that is a commercial for the iPad. It has become one of my favorites. Even though it is really for the iPad Air itself, I love the idea of what “verse” the students will create. What Will Your Verse Be?
They began creating, collaborating, and sharing. It is simply amazing what each of them contributed. Each student used Notability to create his/her genius. What they created was added to our classroom movie that we made (see video at the bottom of the page).
Then our fourth grade team came up with a brilliant idea! They worked in small groups and created Movie Trailers sharing the significance of “You Matter”!
They also wrote Bio-Poems. Below is an example of what two fourth graders wrote.
Our fourth graders collectively created a movie that represents our belief in making a difference in the world. It is an awesome theme for our school year.
How can we make a difference? There are myriad ways students can make their passion for change a reality, as shown by the many projects from these students at a school in California: 2014 #20Time Projects in 4 Minutes. Our fourth grade team will continue to share throughout the year on Twitter and on my blog. I hope our work will inspire change in your classroom, and will inspire you to share your students’ “verses” with the world.