I had something amazing happen last week and I wanted to share this with everyone. As you all have hopefully heard by now, my goal is to let the students' inquiry drive their learning. About four months ago, I was talking with the staff about how excited I was about all the clubs we were offering, and that I was looking forward to the day when a student came up to me to say, "Dr. Compton, we like the clubs, but we really want a club about (fill in the blank)." My response to that was going to be, "that sounds great, so how are you going to make that happen?"
For four months, this did not happen.
On Monday, out of the blue, I had not one, but two seperate groups of students come to my office to see me. One group of fifth graders had an idea of a club that they wanted to see included in March. It wasn't for a club that they needed our help with running. It was something they wanted to run themselves. I asked them to write out the proposal and get back to me. Many of the proposals students bring to me only have a few notes on a piece of scratch paper that says, "I'd like to do _____ because it would be fun." Not these students. They came back with a full page description that expertly explained their proposal.
Then, just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, about 30 minutes later another group of fifth grade students came to pitch a club idea. I know what you're thinking, two fifth-grade groups, it must have been their teachers' ideas. It wasn't, I checked. Their teachers never mentioned to them a "pitch the club idea" to me.
Anyway, their idea was not for a club for themselves, but for a club that they wanted to run themselves for the younger grades. Four months ago, I never imagined that that a group of students would be doing this. I was in awe of these students . . . they wanted to lead a club for other students. I asked them, like I do everyone, to write it out. What they came back with was a masterpiece. Their proposal, which was done on powerpoint, started with an objective, description, then on each following page was a breakdown of each of the activities. They even included a slide entitled, "Our Questions For Dr. Compton," and a slide "Questions For Us."
I know this might seem inconsequential and trivial, but it is inspiring to think that both of these groups of fifth grade students had an idea of something they wanted to do, took the time to write an exemplary proposal, presented it, and on March 7th, their ideas will become reality.
I know that Riverwalk Academy isn't perfect, no school is, but we are sure heading in the right direction. We have some outstanding student-led things happening and over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing them with you.
Thank you all for your continued support.