I spent part of my day at my daughter's elementary school for her field day. This is the 3rd time this year that I have spent at her school. It is the most time that I have spent with her at school in all of her years of schooling. I have spent almost twenty years in high school, but few days in elementary and only 14 days in a middle school. Based on my limited time spent there, I have two observations that I'd like to share.
1. All of the 3rd-5th graders seemed to somehow be hooked into social media or perhaps You Tube. There was a DJ playing music at field day today and all of the students started to pony when Gangnam Style played and started to jiggle around when Harlem Shake hit the air. The first popular music I clearly remember listening to was from Barbara Streisand's and Kenny Gibb's duet album, Guilty. I had a record player and this was one of my first two albums. They responded to the music just like the high school students did. I wonder what this means for them as learners.
2. When I went in January as the book fairy, every single student raised their hand when I asked if they loved reading. Everyone was jumping out of their seats to answer to the questions that I posed. No one was afraid to respond. There was so much joy in the room about books and learning. It was a stark contrast to the sophomores that I worked with over the past week. Only four students regularly and routinely wanted to respond to the questions that I posed. I built in strategies such as Find Your Match to build the energy in the room which worked, but how can we sustain that learning excitement? Are their adrenal glands burnt out by the time they get to high school?
I am happy that my daughter still finds joy in my participation in her school life because in high school that is not always the case. My next date with her is in May for their school-wide writer's celebration in which she shares her first published book.