Gifted Minds and Glitter Bombs
This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation on Learning for All = Teaching for All. To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.
With our first snowmageddon of the season approaching, my students are unusually out of sorts. Walking around my gifted classroom, I can sense there is normal intensity is vibrating on a much higher frequency. The kids are deep in their research on various topics: social-emotional learning, watersheds, curling, Arduinos in education, school start time, and school redesign. My heart is bubbling over with pure joy because I have a classroom filled with little middle school researchers pursuing their passions. More accurately, I think I have a room filled with fully engaged students. The old adage about toddlers - be afraid when they are quiet - it is apropos of middle schoolers as well. Two students used my room for a side project and took out some glitter. Apparently, the glitter sparked their creativity and imagination, and my darlings began to decorate tiny portions on my room at the same time they decorated a poster. I wasn't especially upset, because, after all, it was only glitter. The remaining members of the lunchtime group helped them invent makeshift lint rollers - a glitter bomb cleanup hack they researched. The glitter was mostly eliminated. What was more disturbing to me was the fact that my students wanted to quietly glitter bomb my tremendously awesome, often referred to as Narnia, classroom.
After putting my ego in check, I looked in the mirror and reflected. Why was their glitter missing from my classroom? Am I not giving my students enough of a voice? How else can I have their ideas incorporated in our safe haven? The glitter bombs that exploded in my room forced me to remember, metaphorically and literally, that this is their space. How am I letting them decorate it? How can I let their ideas sparkle?
What glitter bombs are erupting in your classroom and how can you address them? Teaching the whole child means honoring their voice. What are we all doing to ensure everyone has a voice at the table?