Last week, on a bit of a lark, I wrote something on the whiteboard in each of my "classrooms," then waited to see if the kids would notice and what, if anything, they would contribute. Below are the results. (Multiple kids added to each list, so there's an occasional repeat within a list.)
"10 Ways GT Has Helped Me," from my 2nd and 3rd graders:
1. To get a challenge
2. To have a challenge and not have everything be easy
3. To play logic games and learn new things
5. Logic thinking
6. To not get stuff done right away
7. That not everything in life is going to be easy
8. To be challenged
9. So everything isn't so easy
10. It helped me learn new things like Latin and Greek base words
"10 Ways GT Has Helped Me," from my 3rd and 4th graders:
1. Challenge my mind. It makes my thinking not scattered.
2. Inspired me to do things. Ex. = Take on challenges.
3. GT helps me to use my brain and strategy because we play chess and you have to think.
4. If I could be anywhere in the world, it would be here in GT because in [my regular] class I feel like we are learning 1st grade activities and we are doing unnecessary things to drag on activities in class
5. GT helps me to learn math, logic, creativity, and how to handle frustration better, which I never knew before. In class I hear the same things over and over again, but not here in GT.
6. It makes thinking fun!
7. GT has helped me by challenging me and not having to listen to things over and over or things I already know.
8. I know how to play chess better.
9. GT makes me feel better. It helps me cool off when I'm mad. It helps me stay calm when I'm upset.
10. There are complicated problems that help me!
"10 Ways GT Has Helped Me," from my 6th, 7th, and 8th graders:
1. GT has given me the confidence to pursue my goals in life.
2. GT has given me the opportunities and discipline to do the things I have always wanted to do.
3. GT has given me a place where I feel like I'm not different. Here I feel accepted and able to be as smart as I want.
4. GT is a class where we can relate to one another, better than in most classes.
5. GT has taught me that persistence is one of life's necessities.
6. GT has shown me that it's OK and acceptable to have different views or ideas that go against what is commonly accepted.
7. GT has taught me to think of my goals as flexible.
8. GT has given me a lot of challenges I needed because I was never really challenged before.
9. GT has challenged me, given me confidence, and is an awesome place where I can be me.
10. GT has helped me with life's challenges such as dealing with friendships.
"10 Ways GT Has Helped Me," from my high school students:
1. Discovery - Learning about myself and others
2. Self-reliance, depending on myself
3. Able to be creative (with little insult)
4. It has helped me figure out what I want to do with my life.
5. A safe place to pursue my ideas
6. Assist me with my life after high school
7. Si, mucho gusto! [with arrows pointing to many others on the list]
9. The ability to communicate with people who think alike-ish to us.
10. To relax at the end of the day. [Number 10 cracked me up a bit because, to me, my high school class is the least "relaxing" of all of my classes! This year, anyway...]
What strikes me the most reading through these lists is the number of items that aren't specific "lessons" I do with the kids. Much of it I do weave in with this and that every day and every year, but not quite as specifically as their lists might lend you to believe. Perhaps they are paying much closer attention to what I say than I had even hoped! Nonetheless, it's a little refreshing to get their feedback from time to time and to "see" the results of what I do with them from their perspective(s).
Give it try yourself this week. Jot on the board "Ten Ways Science Has Helped Me," or "Ten Ways P.E. Has Helped Me," or "Ten Ways Calculus Has Helped Me," etc., and see what your students have to say!