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As was reflected in my posts, I spent quite a bit of time over the March Break reflecting on the notion of school. I was really interested to see what my students thought, so yesterday morning, after some post-break catch up, I invited them into the conversation.

We started off with a free write about school. These pieces ranged from stream of consciousness ramblings about different subjects to outpourings about their anxieties around school to philosophical commentaries on the progression of schooling throughout history.

Next, we engaged in a SWOT analysis of schools – looking at strengths (what’s going well), weaknesses (what isn’t working), opportunities (things they would like us to try), and threats (barriers or challenges to redesigning school). They came up with such great ideas, and it was also interesting to hear how some things fell into multiple categories. We’ve already implemented some of these ideas, including getting active more, and having mini “Study Hall” periods (we have these weird 20-minute blocks after recess 3 times a week and this ended up being the perfect use for them). A few other ideas are in the works – doing some cooking and getting into the community more. You can see our SWOT board in the picture below.

The cherry on top came right after morning recess. Before March Break, our class did a spoken word analysis on Prince EA’s Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?. That prompted one of my students to check out some of his other videos, and she spent the March Break rehearsing his piece I Just Sued the School System!!! (yes she memorized the entire thing). She performed it for the class, and even put me on the stand as part of the act. Powerful beyond belief.

I’m not sure where this journey will take us, but I am beyond excited to be embarking on this little experiment with my students.