Do you learn from your students? I'm sure you do. I do too.
In August, I signed my class up for the Disney Planet Challenge. In a class meeting, the kids decided they wanted to do their community service science project on the Burn Zone. Disney even donated money towards supplies for the project. We started in earnest and zeal.
And then October happened. For those of you who don't know me or my family, in October, my husband was suddenly diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure. The days I was at school, I was on auto-pilot. When I sat down to do report cards in January, I couldn't remember teaching a single lesson in 2nd quarter. Our science project was not on my radar.
But, my kids were persistent. We had done much of the work in September. We continued to do a little in February and March. Yet, the due date crept up on us. In fact, it came and we were not done. I told the kids, very solemnly, that we gave it a valiant effort, but we would not be able to finish. I thought they would just be sad for a moment and then move on. They didn't. They wanted to finish what we had begun. I tried to explain that the materials were due at midnight and they had to go home and had no way of getting the materials to me in time. They were determined to finish. What would it hurt, I thought. I let them finish their reflections and turn them in the next day.
Then the magic happened. Disney is in the business of magic, y'all. I received an email telling me that they had extended my due date. What!? Well then, I just happen to have my student reflections right here.
Right after the contest ended, we got absorbed in state testing. To be honest, I completely forgot about the Disney Planet Challenge. Then, I got an email....and I opened it......and it said we had been awarded........
RUNNER UP!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so proud of my students. Not for earning runner up, although that did pop a few buttons. More so because they did not give up. Even with the deadline staring them in the face, they still finished, worked late at home, and FINISHED!
Through this process my students learned about the water cycle, weathering and erosion, and the life cycle of a plant. I learned to never give up. Never!