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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our End of the Year Reflections...

An important and essential step of learning is to reflect.

Think of all the ways we have reflected on what we learned this year: journals and discussions, standard explanations, blogging, connecting #OTD tweets and current events, etc.

These were all ways we reflected on very specific pieces of knowledge and some broader concepts. I would love to have us reflect on the year as a whole.

If I reflect on just our classes, here are some of the things that I will always remember about the class of 2019:

-By far, this class is the most poetic! I loved reading many of the poems you wrote for contests, standard work, or even in your journals. I hope to someday read many more!
-This class was very flexible as we tried new educational methods. Very few times did any of you stop and complain about experimenting with a new approach. This attitude and this willingness to learn will no doubt be an essential skill to carry you throughout your lives regardless of which career path you choose.
-The class of 2019 can critically think! Many educators say that the point of a history teacher is not to make sure that their students remember endless historical facts (many of which can be easily "Googled"). The point is to ensure that their students learn how to research, and to use that information to think well. From our quotes discussions to our comments on the news, I am impressed with your ability to use your brains! Keep questioning!
- I will always remember my joy standing at the door as I saw every student enter the room each day. I often said some things that sounded crazy to many of you such as "Good morning wonderful students" or "Happy Monday, the best day of the week"! The truth is that I meant  those statements each and every time. I've enjoyed the  unique classroom that we created this year and the roles that you played in it. So much of our lives are spent within school and I am thankful that you have made it a comfortable and rewarding place to be. I hope that when you leave our class room in the next few days that it is not the last  time you are in it. You are always welcome back (but just don't use it as an excuse to miss a test in another class next year)!

Last week I read an editorial from the civil rights leader, James Meredith, I encourage you to read it here:

You may note that some of the problems he addresses are ones that we tried to address together this year. Some of the things I think we were remarkable at. Some need a bit of improvement, but at least we started to get things in the right direction.

For the last blog post of the year, I ask you two questions:
1. Respond to the article. What do you agree or disagree with?
2. If you look back on our class years from now, what's the one thing you think you will remember? It may be a historical fact, class discussion, or even "Playing in the sandbox." Be honest!

I look forward to reading these responses! 

In closing,...

I hope to still learn about the amazing things you do. If you visit a historical place this summer, e-mail me or tweet me and I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to still follow us on SnapChat so you can see how our room changes (I promise not to bombard it with too much randomness this summer). Remember, our mission never ends, I look forward to seeing how everyone lives up to their #FullPotential !

(PS- I'm considering finding a way to reward in the fall those who read the two books we recently discussed: 1984 and The Diary of Anne Frank.  Stay tuned while we think of ideas...)