"Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world." - Maria Montessori
Transforming children is par for the course in the Title I, K to 5 school where I teach physical education.
We have one of the largest enrollments of English as a New Language Learners in any elementary school in our city. The challenges these kids face are amazing. Many are learning to speak English for the first time, even as they continue to develop and master their native tongues at home.
There are over a dozen languages and dialects represented in our school. This, along with the long hours of school and after-school program enrollments, severely limit time available for social interactions and the formation of meaningful friendships outside of school.
In every grade, there are students with special needs. All of the children are working hard to meet our newly adopted and rigorous Common Core-based curriculum. What is more amazing than all of this, however, is the dedication these students show day in and day out as they strive to reach all of their personal, social, and academic goals.
It always amazes me how quickly certain students grasp concepts and skills to become experts. I love acknowledging their expertise and turning over the teaching reins. In order to award their achievements and promote their willingness to share their expertise with others, I want to create buttons that students can wear alongside their school name tags.
Each button will announce their proficiency, with a personal photo of the child demonstrating their expertise.
This should encourage their peers to seek their assistance in learning the same skill or task, while encouraging the expert student to be brave and share what they know so well.
Button parts, photo paper, and printer ink will enable us to continue making our buttons and keep drawing our little experts out of their shells and into our shared learning community.
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