The following is a reflection of the celebration I had with a Grade 4 class in my school, after completing the RD Program. Read more about the program here, as well as my reflections on each lesson:
Although lesson 8 officially marked the end of the Respecting Diversity Program, it felt weird to just finish there, especially after so much work with this great group of kids. And honestly, I feel like finishing the program is really just the beginning. The real work will happen in the days and weeks to come. What will the students and classroom teachers do with what they have learned? I am already seeing tidbits of success in the students actions and words, and hopefully I will continue to see and hear more of this.
As a way to congratulate everyone for their hard work, I decided it might be fun to plan a celebration of sorts. An EA (and former chef) offered to do some baking for our celebration. I chose a couple logic smart students from the group to help her make some savoury biscuits. Another colleague suggested doing a “gratitude circle.” I LOVED this idea and it really complimented everything we had done to date.
The plan for our celebration was as follows:
- Review the key elements of each lesson we had done together.
- Share what we appreciate about each in other in a gratitude circle.
- Share some celebratory food.
If I’m being honest, the review and sharing of what we had learned in each of the lessons was not spectacular. The kids had just returned from Phys. Ed. and were visibly worn out. I didn’t sweat it. They had shown me their understanding on numerous occasions throughout the program. I let it go and we moved on to the fun stuff!
Earlier in the day I had assigned each of the students and adults from the classroom a person to talk about during our gratitude circle. I asked them to think of reasons that they appreciate their assigned person, in preparation for sharing later. After the brief review of each lesson, I had the students gather in a circle. Each student was given the chance to share something that they appreciate about one of their peers. This was a very positive experience and the kids were visibly proud to hear about themselves. See the outcome in the video below.
After completing the gratitude circle, I had my mini-bakers share the snack they had prepared. This was another proud moment for these students. The biscuits were delicious and it was the perfect way to end our celebration!
Moving forward, I really look forward to seeing how much of an impact the program will have on this very diverse group. I will be checking in with the students and adults in the coming days and weeks to find out!
Katz, J. (2012). Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.