After-school drumming class.
A month ago, our school transformed at lunchtime. Our noisy, boisterous cafeteria became almost quiet. Half of the tables were empty.
It was the beginning of Ramadan and a large number of our students were fasting. Some fasting students still chose to go to the cafeteria. Many more stayed in classrooms supervised by teachers, away from the smell of food, playing chess, using computers, doing homework, or just sitting and chatting with one another.
About 40% of our students are Muslim. Continue reading
Kids—and people in general—have a hunger to be of service. I’m reminded of this hunger on Martin Luther King, Jr Day.
I saw this hunger recently when I peered into a classroom at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon. It was almost an hour after school had ended when I would expect kids to be out eating pizza, or on their way home to play video games, or buried in SnapChat.
And yet, fifteen of our 12th graders were clustered around tables discussing a piece of text. Continue reading
Three times a year, our classrooms transform: round tables are replaced with rows of tablet-armed desks during the state testing weeks of January, June, and August. We call these desks one-armed bandits.
The change from tables to desks is a physically dramatic event. The classroom turns from an expansive, wide space with 6-7 round tables, to a tightly–packed, orderly box filled with metal and laminate desks. Continue reading
Today I visited a 9th grade Economics* class. Students were working in groups helping each other figure out a word problem.
“How do you get a good grade in this class?” I asked a group.
“Oh, it’s easy maam,” said Hassan.** “You just have to pay attention to the teacher, do your homework, and when you have a question, you can’t just sit there and be quiet, you have to ask the other kids.”
“So how do you think you’re all doing?” I asked.
Hassan looked around the room, tilting his chair back, then looked at his group. “I think everyone in this class is going to get 100,” he said confidently.
I liked Hassan’s answer. Continue reading