Tonight, 31 of my past and present students and parents attended a Natural Resources Meeting. Attending these types of activities offers such great learning opportunities beyond the four walls of our classroom. This type of learning really jazzes me in so many ways. Before vacation, we worked hard on developing our new MAD COW project. The new kids picked up where the old ones left off: Moore’s Swamp. We were using fractions and percents, our persuasive writing skills, our knowledge of food chains and food webs, and our new data driven dialogues to present a compelling case for Moore’s Swamp to be preserved as is for a Blanding’s turtle habitat. This past Saturday, six students, six parents, and one grandfather, joined me for a 90 minute walk around Moore’s Swamp. Again, their questions and observations were outstanding. They didn’t care that it was cold with a little snow on the ground. They were interested in learning. Outside our classroom walls. And today, Dr. Windmiller came in once again to talk with the students about looking at different view points around an issue. And again, the questions asked were amazing. Just like my students from the past two years, they owned the learning. They were engaged and invested in the topic.
But then, tonight, it got even better. Shortly before 7:00 p.m., they started arriving at 141 Keyes Road. Six of my former students, taller, some with deeper voices, but still as poised and passionate as ever. Seven of my new students, some dressed quite sharply, entered the meeting room, totally unruffled for what lay ahead. It was a long meeting, a contentious meeting, a learning meeting. They listened patiently. They listened to varying viewpoints. They sat still, they stood up against walls, they stood in the doorway. Probably well past their bedtime, but they stayed. They listened. They waited for their turn.
And then, one stood up, stated her first and last name and her address. I was so proud. And then another did the same. And another. I marveled at the confidence of these ten and eleven year old children, confident enough to stand up in a room full of strangers and state their point. Some of my old kids were also ready to speak, but didn’t get called on. But I was proud of them just the same. I was proud that they were still committed enough to show up to a long public meeting to make sure that the town understood their passion about this project. I was proud of the students and their parents who brought them to this meeting. They showed that they support their children’s learning 100%.
This type of learning to me exemplifies learning at its best. I am grateful to have yet another crop of students who will put themselves out there to be the voices for turtles who can’t speak. I am grateful to parents who support us in this endeavor. I am grateful to Bryan Windmiller, for giving of his time, to talk with the students and to be wowed by the students as well. All I can say is “Wow!” and stay tuned for more MAD COW!