Paying Attention: the “Inside Selfie”

We talked about paying attention to the inside–that each Dreamline and Value flag helps focus our own attention on the inside–what we value, what we dream, what we plan. And we talked about how the inside is more important than the outside–in friendship, in family, in everything we do with other people.

“Zip!” “Zap! “Zop!!”

On Monday of the last full week of  the school year, I stood before 2nd graders at the Lab Charter School at 59th and Woodbine in West Philadelphia and we played Zip, Zap, Zop. Paying attention to which way to point–right for Zip, left for Zap–was a challenge but it got better as we went along.

 

Because of the support of those who support programs that build student motivation at the Queen’s Jubilee Education Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, I was able to not only work with students to help them articulate their values and dreams, but also to do follow up analysis and study of the patterns of those elements across grades, gender, and other factors, in order to guide the school toward resources that meet the motivational needs of their students.

logo_philadelphia_foundation

Through the week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I worked with students and co-taught with their teachers to help them think about what a value is, choose some that matter, and make a Value Flag.

 

Then I asked them to think about the world we live in, the dreams we have of how it could be, and the ways we can move toward those dreams. At least with 5th graders. Kindergarteners created an acrostic out of the word “DREAM” with words close to the heart.

 

And the theme that emerged from these discussions, from the pressure of getting all of this done by Friday for “the big reveal” was paying attention.

Paying attention to THEM.

labLogo

Lab Charter serves a population in West Philadelphia that does not always get a lot of attention, though their teachers are devoted, their principals are tireless and their group leadership from CEO Stacey Cruise has been visionary. The school sits between areas of affluence and economic need. The facility is not ideal, according to their principal and teachers, but they make do. Their revenue per student is just over half of the state average, and all of their students qualify for school lunch without fee.

What we talked about a lot that week was how it matters what we pay attention to.

capitalonesmbank-converted.png

Just the week before we started work at Lab, as it is known, I spoke with a representative of Capital One bank which has a bank cafe in my neighborhood. Kevin Moore affirmed that values and community are what Capital One cares about. He aksed us to invite students from Lab to a special event in July called Field of Dreams at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center to meet and interact with players from Philadelphia Soul, the Arena Football team of Philadelphia–AND to display the Lab Dreamline and Value Flags as part of an installation of our Unlock The Dream game to be included as part of the event activities.

 

So I could tell the students that Capital One and the many people attending their event — would be paying attention to what THEY had to say on their flags.

But there was more about paying attention.

We talked about paying attention to the inside–that each Dreamline and Value flag helps focus our own attention on the inside–what we value, what we dream, what we plan. And we talked about how the inside is more important than the outside–in friendship, in family, in everything we do with other people.

And finally, that each flag is, in modern terms, a “selfie” of the INSIDE–a snapshot of one child’s heart and values at one moment to share with the community and with the world.

Look and listen to these “inside selfies.”

From a Kindergartener

K

values: LOVE, RESPECT

From a 2nd Grader

2C

values: FAITH, FORGIVENESS, FAMILY

From  one 5th Grader:

6thA-lg

values: TRUST, LOYALY, EMPATHY

From  another 5th Grader:

5THB2

values: LOGIC, FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY

In our celebration Friday, we heard their voices as you can here– and all of them on our site. Because of the tireless work of the teachers, each and every one of these flags was put up on Dreamline with a voice recording of the student–no mean feat on the last week of school. But the teachers were paying attention.

6-8-18 INVIT

invitation to the celebration

We gathered on the sunlit grass on their last Friday of school and teacher-selected students read their Dreamline flags in front of a display with each and every flag blowing in the breeze. Parents joined along with school administration. We could hear how aware they are of the hard realities of their world–even at age 8–and that they are determined to make things better.

 

 

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And that’s news–that’s something to pay attention to–that each of us needs to hear.


For more information on the Laboratory Charter Schools, visit  http://thelaboratorycharterschool.com

Look for future blog posts for more information on the specifics of this grant and the analytic work under way based on student-created Dreamline and Value Flags.

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