During a casual conversation with my grade 8 class we began discussing the school’s character education program; I was met with grumbles and groans. At that point I had two choices. I could stick with the status quo and try to convince them that they should make the best of it, or I could “grant them permission” to change it, knowing that my administrators would be supportive.
I chose the latter and posed one question; what will you do to make it better?
The hushed voices slowly became fervent roars. One idea grew into 10 and then 20.
At that moment the idea of the Bison Cup was born and its potential made viable. Students from grades 1 to 9 would be intermixed to form different groups and would work together to complete various challenges throughout the year. All of our 750 students would have the chance to plan the different collaborative challenges with our class planning the first few. Stewardship would be embedded throughout. Developing a sense of community and belonging would be at the heart of it.
For two weeks, my class of 31 students worked diligently to bring their idea to life. It was magical to see each and every student embrace their role and work tirelessly to ensure that all was “just right” for when we first presented the idea to the rest of the school. This was theirs and they were determined to make it work.
The idea was embraced by our students and the staff, and its presence continues to grow.
“Anything is possible, Ms. M. Just look at what we did in only a few weeks. I can’t wait to see what it becomes.” – Alex, grade 8 student
Neither can I, Alex.
Dionne McLellan (@dionnemclellan) is a lover of the outdoors and all else real. She lives life loudly and encourages her students to do the same.