I'm a big movie fan. I always have been. Now, due to what I do for a living, it should come as no surprise that I really enjoy movies about excellent educators. Dead Poets Society, Freedom Writers, and Lean on Me are all movies that have and continue to inspire. One thing that the teacher in those films have in common is the passion and interest that those educators have in developing their students beyond academics. They want to develop good people. This is a goal that I constantly strive for as well.
Throughout my lessons, I'm constantly looking to teach lessons that reach beyond the four walls of my classroom. I try to develop ideas that they will take with them long after they leave my class. This week, for example, I took a little bit of time out to chat with the students about recognizing the difference between things we want to do vs. the things that we need to do. By that, I mean that we are constantly surrounded by things that we want to do (video games, having a nap, watching TV) but before we can do the things that we want to do, we need to take care of the things we need to do (homework, cleaning your room, taking care of your siblings).
Throughout our time working on our biography projects we have read a ton of different kid-friendly biographies. In a semi-coincidental manner, a lot of the ones we've read have been about Civil Rights heroes (Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall). These books have helped facilitate some amazing discussion that goes beyond the curriculum as well. We've had discussions about non-violent protests and the Golden Rule. One thing that's always shocked and amazed me is how thoughtful and insightful the kids are. They truly are developing to be little leaders. While these conversations are happening early in their life, I believe it's important to have them start thinking about these things early on in their life so that they can continue to develop as a whole person instead of just academics.