Today was a pretty fun day. I coach an after school class called Leadership Academy, and tonight was our year-end showcase. This is a change for students to show off they're yearly project to friends and family. In the past we have done a very formal presentation with the kids standing up on stage and the audience sitting and watching. This is my second year of Leadership Academy and my 4th showcase, and the idea of doing the same thing again sort of filled me with boredom. We brainstormed some alternative ways for the kids to present. We came up with the idea of a walking tour presentation. We put the kids in pairs, and each pair prepared a presentation for a specific topic. They set up stations all around the room, and parent's had a stamp card. As they visited each station, the kids stamped the parents card until was completely full.
My students did an awesome job, as always. My favorite part was when adults walked in the door, my students would meet them with a handshake and a hello. It was pretty adorable. The two projects they worked on this year were the Kindness Patrol and the Green Team. The Green Team focused on ways to improve campus cleanliness, and recognized students who made an effort to pick up trash. The Kindness Patrol, watched for kids who were kind, and sometimes handed out kindness tickets. They also passed out Kindness Boomerang tickets which had a simple task like, "Say thank you to someone." Once the person holding the ticket completed the task, they were to pass it on to someone else.
Students were busy all evening, telling parents about their topic, but also fielding questions about what they'd learned or enjoyed about being in Leadership Academy. LA is a really great program. My students and I meet every Monday and Tuesday from 3:00 - 4:30, which can make the days seems long, but it has been so transformational for our kids. I loved watching one of my quiet, shy students, speak with confidence about her project. It was awesome because just a few months ago, she rarely spoke and when she did, her voice was a whisper. I look forward to next year, as my 4th graders move up to 5th grade leadership, and we get a brand new batch of 4th graders. It will be fun to see what projects they come up with - LA is student led so you never what direction you will be heading in.
Letting students lead can be pretty scary, and sometimes chaotic — especially in the early days of Leadership class. They have to learn to work together, and accomplish tasks, but it is amazing what they can do. They didn't really need me there tonight, except that I am the one with the key to the classroom. They couldv'e run the whole meeting without me and if you are trying to raise up leaders, that is exactly what you want.
Keep moving forward,