Each class was started with a little brainstorming to see how much students knew and to build a little background knowledge for all of us. It was amazing to listen to and watch middle schoolers enthusiastically show what they know. They were so excited their hands were waving at me, some of them were actually bouncing in their chairs, but delightfully they remained respectful to me and each other.
Katie remembered a book she read last year. Audrey told us about a shark spotting when her family was on vacation in Hawaii. Meanwhile, Michael and Devon were busy sketching different types of sharks from memory with incredible accuracy. Did you know that in the 21st century, 100 million sharks are killed annually compared to five people being killed by sharks? Made us wonder which one is more dangerous. The middle schoolers taught me more than I ever knew about sharks, and I didn't even read the assigned magazine article.
The middle schoolers also taught, or reminded, me several lessons that day that are important to educators, and maybe anyone else who lives life outside a cave.
* Knowledge is expressed in many forms, verbal, written, sketched, etc.
* Enthusiasm is contagious.
* We don't all process information at the same speed.
* We don't all process information and get the same result.
* If we look hard enough, we can usually find something in common with those around us. (Remember the Kevin Bacon post?)
* Worship has many faces. (Maybe I'll tell you about going to my first mass with these students another day.)
* Expectations drive actions, positively or negatively.
* Even "big kids" need recess once a day.
* Most of us love learning when it's something that interest us (not because it might be on a test).
* People enjoy doing what they are successful doing.
* If you're mean to people they probably don't want to play with you.
*WE CAN ALL LEARN SOMETHING NEW.
* WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM THOSE AROUND US.
It was a terrific day, and one I am so thankful for! A day I just intended to be a way to pick up a little cash, turned out to come with a huge bonus.