I work hard to be present with my kiddos; to be in the moment with them, to be responsive, and to embrace the emergent nature of learning. In other words, I strive to offer provocations and then let the kids’ natural curiosity guide the direction of our classroom inquiry. This shouldn’t be confused with “Mrs. K doesn’t plan,” as I DO try to anticipate all the possible ways I believe things MIGHT go and do my best to collect materials, books, websites, resources that will support the inquiry regardless of the path they choose. Every so often though, the kids take a hard left turn off the proverbial learning path, one I didn’t anticipate, and I find myself equally blindsided and delighted. This is one of those times.
It’s a curious thing, the power of the ‘official name badge’. It’s such a simple construct: plastic badge holder + polaroid photo + identification information printed in colour… and VOILA; a new sense of purpose!
I want the kids to feel like I am taking their passion seriously, that this inquiry is more than ‘child’s play,’ and that their contributions (their voices and unique perspectives) are valued as an integral part of a larger conversation about the Core Competencies. I wanted to find a way to create a sense of urgency, purpose, and togetherness; I wanted to hold space in an intentional way for the ‘serious work’ that is unfolding. I also wanted the kids to feel as though they could step out of this ‘serious work’ as needed, to be able to walk away from the inherent vulnrability required, and to just be… themselves… kids… as well.
So these name badges are becoming/have become a way for the kids to communicate when they are engaged as ‘experts’ and ‘meaning makers’ and when they are learners searching for answers.
Armed with badges, curiosity, and a desire to be seen and heard… we’re off!