Connections of Gratitude
Updated: Sep 21, 2021
As we come upon Memorial Day we’re reminded of the significant role each of us play in contributing to the well-being of our society. The beauty in each new day can be found in opportunities given to authentically improve upon past choices. When reflecting upon historical events; what better way to express gratitude to those who have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms of today than to honor them through the eyes of our youth. As facilitators of fifth grade learners, we have the privilege of observing socratic discussions held within our learning environments daily. At any moment the unknown question posed or connection made, can shift learning in a new direction. This fluidity comes from providing learners with the time and structure needed to effectively communicate, collaborate, and dig deeper into concepts. Through the experiences of natural progression levels of thought necessary for active thinking unfold.
Recently within our learning environment, named the country of Cognitiveunderstandia, a cohort of thinkers demonstrated the importance of intrinsically building meaningful understanding. Stemming from a learning opportunity where the students engaged in closely reading, The Origins of Memorial Day, they began asking questions that led to further investigation of the Civil War. Throughout their inquiry, connections to the “Five Categories of History” found their way into the conversation, along with an analogy from our class novel, Esperanza Rising where the students utilized a river to symbolize times of division our nation has experienced. They continued by sharing examples of what they perceived as conflict within their own personal lives and community. One learner quietly asked his peers if they believed a monumental event such as the Civil War would be experienced in their lifetime. He questioned the possibility of an event being,“so large it touched upon all five categories of history, ranging from political, social, economic, philosophical and religious.” Another cohort member passionately responded by making a claim that “the pandemic the world is currently experiencing is that very event in time!” From that point on, the cohort ignited with eagerness to share their thoughts and experiences. Throughout the remainder of the morning, our eleven year olds built rationales, challenged and persuaded one another and shared personal connections as to how these historic events brought forth hardship, as well as great contributions to our society through the dedication and kindness of others.
Whether communication entailed the economic impact of a family struggling to keep their pizza place open, families experiencing covid-19 first hand, parents who had lost their jobs or the relief of returning to school, our learners made real-world connections that gave them the opportunity to express feelings of both concern and gratitude. In turn, the culture of reflective thought provided a sense of meaningful connectedness as our learners now celebrate what they know to be the origins of Decoration Day. With the hopes of unlocking the potential within all learners, may our country move forward with the faith, hope and love needed to build for a more progressive and unified tomorrow. God Bless America.