What is your sentence?

What a day! As we round out the school “year” (The 2013 part of it) we have been busy at work preparing to write a new constitution. Stamp Act, Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Articles of Confederation, Problems with the Articles of Confederation, Shays’ Rebellion…Students are understanding what the events that led up to the Constitution ReWrite (or 2.0) for the techies of the bunch.

I saw a video (The Surprising truth about what motivates us.and it made me come back to what we (The students and I) are all really here for, education! Not of content, but of life and communicating with other students and teachers in a productive way, collaborating to create thoughtful responses to assignments, breaking out of the mundane and being creative in the work that students do. 

This video made me think of a question that had been posed in Daniel Pink’s book Drive, What is your sentence? (See here for other teachers’  sentences.) They are sentences like:

She equipped students with the strategies they would need to cope positively with life’s difficult situations and to solve conflicts peacefully.

She creates a classroom community where everyone can feel valued and special. She fosters kindness, empathy, and curiosity. She is an advocate for kids.

She teaches her students to move to their own beat as well as the steady beat.

He taught two generations of kids how to read.

Holy cow! I wanted to share this with my students! See what they were thinking if I made them come up with their “sentence”. But how? What can make them connect it to their lives? A video and a song!

I thought about how I start every class and there I found my answer! I show a short (usually less than 5 minutes) motivational video clip or maybe even a song. Want an example? Just think if a short video or song you have seen or heard that made you want to jump out of your skin and made you extremely motivated. There you have how I start class!

I thought of this video,

This could be a direct way for my students to think about how they wanted to live their life and how they want their peers to see them. I was a bit nervous at first if it would work. Was it too direct? Too sad? I didn’t think so, I gave it a shot. It totally worked!

I played the video, asked the kids to describe him in 1 sentence. They wrote amazing sentences about him living life to the fullest, putting smiles on the faces of others, having a happy aura and making others feel good when you are around them.

But what would they say when I turned the tables on them and had them write about their own lives? I asked them to create a sentence of their own about themselves. Make it both a goal for a way of living and possibly an accomplishment they wanted to reach.

See for yourselves below.

1st Hour sentences

2nd Hour sentences

3rd Hour sentences

4th Hour sentences

Well, my students did it again. They impressed me. Now to the exciting part, having them bring the passion they have in these sentences to how they live their lives. I am excited to see where they take their journey.

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