As part of my teaching assignment I have the luxury of doing DPA and PE with my Grade 4/5 class. The class I have this year is literally up for anything. I can create a game on the spot and they will try it, work hard and have fun. I almost never get kids saying they have a sore knee, or their mom said they didn’t have to do PE today. It has been awesome.
Today was a little different. It started off the same…me running from the office a little unprepared.
(Students – in unison) “Mr. Mullin, what are we going to do in PE today?”
(Me) “Hmmm…good question. How about a huge game of capture the flag?”
(Students – collectively) “YAY!”
A dream, right? Well it started out great. Kids running, using great strategy, working together…sweat pouring from their little faces. Then it went sideways.
(Me – in my head) “Well you’ve pulled off another one old boy. Man, are you one awesome teacher!”
(Them – almost in unison) “He cheated, they’re not listening, he didn’t go to jail, she called me a #@$%!!
What happened? I wasn’t sure, but the period was at the end, so we headed up to class. Each day we do a reflection (a form of Hmm…, Yes, WOW!), but today I mixed it up. We did a T-chart What I liked/What I didn’t Like and I did the same. The students really got down to business and after a couple of minutes we shared out. One rule, that if you shared something you didn’t like, other people couldn’t comment on it.
What happened was interesting. We ended up having a great discussion about rumours and miscommunication. We painted a really clear picture of how something somebody “heard”, moves quickly into “fact” and made some nice connections to the outside world. At the end of it all, I said I wasn’t sure if we would play that game again. This boy put up his hand and said,
“Mr. Mullin, look at all the stuff we all liked about the game. We talked about what went wrong and what we would do differently next time. I think we should play again on Thursday.”
A girl said,
“Yah, isn’t that kinda what learning is about. Figuring out what went wrong and fixing it?”.
Yes, Yes it is. I owe my students a debt of gratitude. I learn from them every day.