First I saw this:
20 Steps Around the School http://t.co/HhnVkpAt3K Kevin’s Meandering Mind
— KevinHodgson (@dogtrax) February 27, 2014
And then I went to the post and watched the video there.
After watching the video I walked down my hallway. You know what I saw? Nothing. If you were walking down my hallway you would never know that there were 200 kids behind the doors on the third floor.
Using computers is great. But I have found that the more I use computers, there is less evidence of what we are doing for the people that we come into contact with each day. If another teacher, parent, or kid from another class walks down our hall all they might see is a kid working on a laptop. After that kid creates something maybe we show it once in the class, and then no one on the team or in the school or community ever sees it again.
We are approaching 1000 videos on our youtube channel that anyone in the world could see, but did not have 1 thing a person walking down the hall could see.
We were working on a unit that included the Trail of Tears and I decided we needed to change that. I took Kevin’s idea and made it ten steps. “If you could walk for ten footsteps on the Trail of Tears what would you be thinking with each footstep?” In my head it sounded great, when it came out of my mouth in class it sounded ok, but the kids got pretty excited about it–or maybe because they were going to be able to use scisssors.
We had done a readers theater class with a primary source story from the Trail of Tears to peak their curiosity, and then they spent a couple days researching. Front of the step had the thought, back of the step has the source. First step was in Georgia, last was in Oklahoma. They ended up turning in everything from poems, to very “essay” like steps, to single footprints with QR codes leading to Powtoons, to drawings with thoughts written in the person’s teardrops, to videos such as this one:
In the end we had foot steps all over the place. Everywhere you looked coming up to our team you passed footsteps. I have not seen a single kid stop and read every footstep, but one kid will stop and read a step walking up the stairs, another while waiting to come into class will read a step, and when waiting for the buses kids will read them. They read them every day, they see them every day, they are reminded of what they researched and wrote everyday. I have caught almost every adult visitor to our floor stopped in front of a wall reading what the kids wrote. In their essays on Andrew Jackson I saw a passion and ownership of the paragraphs on Indian Removal that I have not seen in the past. Something else also happened this year, they also included more opinion in those paragraphs than in past year. I kept commenting to include some evidence because I was reading mostly commentary without any facts. I don’t know if it was happening because of the foot steps all over the walls…but they do look cool for just some cut-out construction paper and sentences written on them, and there was a vibe making them, sharing them, hanging them that you just don’t get when sharing most things on a computer.