I tried the writing activity I detailed in my last post with my Year 11's, and Wow! This is a small class of only 14, but low ability boys who are very easily distracted. I introduced it by explaining how so many of our reactions have the word 'I' in it which doesn't recognise the horror and tragedy that is really going on. The responses and stories I got from them were amazing. One of the boys has an Aunt that is still missing in Christchurch so I gave him an out from having to deal with the tragedy head on and said they could choose anyone from anywhere around the world.
I have found the boys a lot more open to deeper thinking and more philosophical discussion than usual. After discussing the issue of desensitisation as shown in The Hunger Games with my Year 9 class, we proceeded to have a 30min long class discussion about war, reality TV, the earthquake, individual stories and reactions. A usually very chatty class was silent and respectful of everyone speaking one at a time and I was simply able to act as a facilitator. The depth of emotion these kids have and their ability to really care and empathise was all the reminder I needed about why I love my job. The last year has been incredibly hard, but through it all I still really love what I do and the kids I get to work with every day.
Before all of this happened my next post was going to be about my classroom environment and the couple of things I have done to make it a bit more interactive. I've put some pictures on here to show the couple of things that I am really proud of. One is my author timeline which has pictures, dates and works of famous authors throughout time on it. The other is my reading tree, which is very bare at the moment but hopefully by the end of the year it will be leafy green, with each leaf being a student written review of a book they liked and want to recommend.
I think that is about all for today. I hope you and all your loved ones are safe and well.