Day 10: Tuesday, 30 July, 2019
Kennedy Frazier, United States
Classroom 4 is a crazy, joyous place. Everyday the kids wow me by the extent of their creativity, brilliance, and silliness. One day for art, we created our own kingdoms. The names of their palaces ranged from The Kingdom of Light to Butterfly Kingdom to Kingdom Eagle Strong!
But we did one activity last week that was particularly captivating:
The word of the day was Determined. I placed the kids into small groups and asked them to work together to “show the word.” We had played this game before in a more traditional charades Ariel: they would work together in groups to act out given words like cold, sleepy, happy, etc. But today they had to show the word Determined.
I asked, what does determined mean? They hesitated at first. Determined was a weird sounding word with too many letters for its own good. Some of them muttered the word to themselves a few times. Others just stared at me, waiting for the answer. I decided to ask another question, what are ways we show our determination? Initially, they equated determination with strength. But my co-teacher Khaled and I helped to explain that determination is more than physical strength, it is working hard despite the challenges we face. Khaled gave a wonderful example of climbing up a tall mountain: it takes strength to begin but determination to continue.
The kids were nodding slowly, beginning to understand, unfolding the metaphor in their minds. They gradually started working together in their groups to show determination.
Some groups presented variations of the mountain example. Another group simply flexed muscles and mimicked statuesque heroes.
The last group to present their scene was clustered in the back corner of the classroom, kneeling. I went over to see if they were ready. They were huddled around a flimsy pipe leaned flower (leftover from an art activity we did the day before). It seemed they had planted the makeshift flower in a crack in the cement floor where there was a small gap of dirt. The rest of the class assembled around the tiny flower, wondering what it meant. A girl from the group stepped forward and explained (through Khaled’s translation) that the flower grows through the stone not because it is big and strong but because it is determined.