Sunday, September 25, 2011

finding Common Ground

I'm not a big fan of field trips. Between the organizing and the fear of losing a child, I'd always rather just stay home. But, I also know trips have value, and so I put on my big girl pants and deal. (Knowing that it's always worth it in the end helps too.)

Friday's trip was no different. I have some paperwork stuff to deal with on Monday (mostly related to attendance) but once again I'm glad we went. The kids spent an hour volunteering-- they were parking cars-- and it's always wonderful watching them outside a classroom. A couple of them took some attitude from some frustrated drivers; I told them to remember how it felt to be on the receiving end the next time they were on the giving end. But they kept their cool, and I think enjoyed the day.

My hope is our common experience helps form a stronger sense of "us"-- or at least "us" as it exists during this school year. It's human nature to divide ourselves into groups of us and them: part of what I try to do is expand their definitions of who belongs with us. My students aren't all friends with each other, and they don't have to be, but they do have to coexist. Days like last Friday help make it work for us.

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