I am a first year teacher…well at least I feel that way.
I taught 8th grade 19th Century United States History for 25 years. That’s a long time.
This year I had the opportunity to move to the seventh grade. I am now a 7th grade geography teacher.
Something was missing from my class in September. It took me awhile to figure it out and then it hit me. People. People were missing from my class. People and the stories that come along with them. Stories that are told with heart and hit a kid where they won’t forget. I am working on fixing that problem. It is important that I fix that problem and bring people, back into my class. Without “people,” my class lacks heart.
l believe that great classrooms can change the world. When classrooms include powerful stories, when those stories are told with heart the way they deserve to be told, kids thought patterns can change, they can be moved, fires are lit, and they will be inspired. Great classrooms just don’t just focus on content. They use the content in their course to deliver a story that has heart.
The video above was inspired by this one from Story and Heart. We made ours to remind all teachers that powerful stories about people are vital to any classroom. Making the video was quite a process, and I wish we could start from the beginning and do it all over after what we learned. It was made during 10 minutes of lunch, a few minutes after school, and squeezed in at various other times over the course of almost three months We learned so much about lighting, focus, and recording audio and can’t wait to put all that we learned into our next video.
We did receive permission from Story and Heart–a big thank you to them.
— Story & Heart (@StoryandHeart) September 12, 2014
Here is the transcript to the video:
I believe that great classrooms can change the world. When classrooms include powerful stories, when those stories are told with heart the way they deserve to be told, kids thought patterns can change, they can be moved, fires are lit, and they will be inspired.
Great classrooms just don’t just focus on content. They use the content in their course to deliver a story that has heart.
Most units are built upon one of four pillars
The first is People — that’s focusing on historical and current characters
The second is places — that’s the big picture and details of an event
The third pillar is plot — the overall arch and structure of the unit
And last is purpose — the intention, the big why behind the unit
The p that you put first will determine what type of class you will have
If you focus on Plot, you’ll have a class with lots of action
If you focus on places, you’ll have a class that seems like a travel video
If you focus on purpose, your class will come across as a commercial
But when you put people first, well that gives you a class that is character driven
So what does that all that mean?
If you give your kids one character to root for,
someone they can invest in,
the student forms a powerful connection with the content.
If purpose drives your unit
and you want to show how challenging it was during the time period,
how tough it was,
why reforms were made…
sure, I might consider what it was like,
but when it’s over,
I’m relieved because it just made me uncomfortable
Focusing on places is common especially in geography classes
analyzing pictures of homes,
videos of the Amazon basin…
it might hold my interest,
but ultimately there is nothing to root for, there is nothing to feel strongly about.
Often plot drives social studies classes.
Those classrooms focus on battles,
the routes of the explorers
When plot drives a class
I don’t really get to know the people in the battles
or the men and women who stayed up late in their workshops.
I can’t form an emotional connection to the people involved,
I can’t get to know the people,
it keeps my attention,
but it doesn’t change the way I think or felt about anything.
That leaves us with People–
when people become the heart of your class
we’ll will stay with a lesson a little bit longer,
we want to know what happens to the character next.
Putting people first gives kids the ability to engage with someone else,
we can dig below the surface to the heart of what matters,
we can identify with them,
we can feel for them,
people can help us make sense of our own experiences,
of things we have gone through,
or things we imagine might come to pass.
Focusing on people is the strongest way for you to get us to connect with the story.
Too often we learn about the Cherokees on The trail of tears,
but not the individuals involved,
We learn about the life of Civil War soldiers
without ever getting to know one.
Focusing on people is the reason why we will care about your class.
It’s what will give your class heart.
You can have multiple people,
but focus on them as individuals
people who shoes the kids can walk in.
we do not want to be taught.
We want to be moved
Put a little heart
Put a little heart
Put a little heart
into your next lesson.
We would like to give a big shout out to Still Motion for giving us the idea for this video,
You can check out a link to the original video made by Story and heart in the description below the video