Just before I started blogging yesterday morning, I saw an incredible clip of Sam Fox’s “Run While You Can” campaign for Parkinson’s. I am always amazed by people who challenge themselves to do more. I could not imagine being able to run 50 miles a day from Canada to Mexico every day for two months. I was sure that my students would be keen into his message and why he did the run for his mom. I’ve been trying to find a way to get my kids inspired to have a voice in this world for those who don’t or bring awareness to an important issue. I thought a great baby-step would be to focus on the last half of Sam’s message: “…while you can.”
I’ve always been epicurean in a sense that I really believe that we should “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you shall die.” His philosophy sounds grim, but it is all about not taking life for granted and living it the best you can. I had a million ideas running through my head about how the students could focus on “while you can.” We could build a sort of viral campaign that spread small messages about enjoying whatever you love most while you can. Maybe by hashtagging “whileyoucan” and compose short Twitter messages that discuss the activity that they can’t live without. I imagined reams and pages of tweets like dance while you can, skating down the ice while you can, and so on. I figured that if I could be this inspired by Sam’s message, the conversation in class would go on and on and we’d map out brilliant strategies for getting out our ideas to the world.
I walked into both classes this afternoon energized and ready to be dazzled by all their ideas. I started by talking about guardians and what we’ve done for them and what we would do for them if we had the opportunity. We watched the video clip and discussed what it meant to not take for granted the things we do. I talked about how we have a chance to be a voice, how we can make a difference. I suggested the Twitter idea, and how that could be a start of something we could do together. After the brief introduction and ten or so minutes into the class, I passed it off to them to see if there were any sparks.
I relaxed my energy and took their silence as the cue to move back to ELA. I told them if anyone had any ideas or wanted to discuss things, I’d be more than happy to listen later too.
My fourth block did surprise me by having a chorus of readers. Some days it is like pulling teeth to get reading volunteers, but today, they had a zany energy and were reading non-stop. Literally, they weren’t stopping because when one student finished a paragraph another would jump in. Soon they started jumping in half way through paragraphs then they started exchanging sentences, but I eventually had to slow it down when they started trading off individual words and sounding like an odd robot reading machine. I let the rapid reading exchanges go on because I had students that were willingly reading. Although my big plan of changing the world didn’t happen today, I have to remember to love the little things that make this job worthwhile. Also, I do know that a few students were secretly engaged with the idea of making a small difference in the world, and even if I can’t make it a whole class project, I’m sure that a small group of us will end up doing something before the term is over.