Student Connect -> Teacher Connect

Some educators from my amazing PLN from #BFC530 created an off-shoot group called Student Connect. We have a Voxer group that allows our students to leave messages for one another from across the country.  Lisa's 11th and 12th graders in Pennsylvania can talk to my 9th and 10th graders in Massachusetts can talk to Scott's 7th graders in New Jersey can talk to Sarah's 7th and 8th graders in Georgia can talk to Becca's K through 5 students in Texas.

We come up with the question for each day and the kids talk to each other about their answers.  They LOVE listening to voices of kids from all around the country thank to Voxer.  They laughed together when eating waffles was mentioned as a fun weekend activity.  They shook their heads together when the stress of the PSATs was mentioned.  One of my sophomores said, "It's nice to know they're the same as us."

Day 1 Question: What do all kids want every teacher to know?

Becca used a table as a surface for kids to write their answers. I decided to do the same after she gave me the idea!

Day 1 Responses:

Here are the responses from classrooms all around the country and from students as young as 5 and as old as 18.

Lack of sleep was a major theme.

Day 2 Question: Happy Friday! What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Day 2 Responses:

Sleep appears again! Boy, these kids are stressed.

In a post from earlier this school year I wrote about how my students have a common wish for all their teachers: Get to know us!

This message came through loud and clear once again.  They also want us to understand what part of their crazy schedules they value the most.  They are overbooked, overtaxed, and seriously lacking sleep.  At the same time, they want time to focus on the things they are passionate about.

In fact, in a one-on-one meeting with a 10th grader I had this afternoon, she vented about how stressed out she was and about how all the adults in her life expect a full commitment to school/sports/arts/etc.  Her statements was, "I get commitment but I don't get obsession."

That certainly made sense to me.

I don't want this new addition to my classes to be another project to pile on top. Instead I want it to be something that makes kids feel like there are others out there who understand how they feel.

I can't wait to hear more from my students and my friends' students from all around the country.  When they hear each other speaking they feel connected, and when I see them getting excited about this new unofficial project of ours, I feel more connected to them. One sophomore said to me. "I like walking into your room, seeing the question on your desk, and writing my ideas before we get started with class."  That sweet spot, where we all feel like someone is listening to our voice, that's where the learning happens.


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