Friday, September 11, 2015

Week 1: Let's Talk About Community (Parks and Rec is later)

This week was spent building good classroom community and looking at concepts related to the Identity theme, especially Personal and Community Identities.

In addition to the beginning of school introduction to the classroom, we talked about mutual responsibility for sharing the space and resources, and also "Yours, Mine and Ours."

We had a good discussion and found some useful language around the idea of explicit vs. implicit permission. For example, glue sticks are a shared resource, everyone is free to use them without asking, but we all need to take responsibility for returning them when we're done. The insides of desks belong only to one person and unless you ask every time (get explicit permission) you shouldn't be going into someone else's desk.

Following on Tuesday's topic, we began the day with a whole school (Community) meeting. Our morning activity was a simulation, discussion and writing prompt on the "Tragedy of the Commons."

We found many reasons why people might act contrary to their own long term interests and had a lively conversation about how/why the government might want to regulate an industry, the tax burden of doing so effectively and the impact of overuse of the commons on long-term sustainability.
The writing prompt asked "What do you think would be different about the way people fish if everyone had their own lake and couldn't fish anywhere else?"

We finished the day on Friday with a fairly nuanced (for middle school) discussion of race, ethnicity, prejudice, discrimination, and bias that ranged from Rosa Parks to employment discrimination and rights afforded by the Constitution.

We'll continue discussing sharing, community, and social justice much more as part of the ongoing Identity theme.

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