When I begin these talks as part of our Wednesday morning routine, I spend the first seven Wednesdays introducing the roles, one per day. On these days I introduce a specific role, define it, and share examples that I believe will resonate with my students. I then ask students to offer examples of their own.
Once I have introduced and defined the roles, we spend our remaining Wednesdays connecting daily classroom learning activities to the various roles, promoting local events that may connect to the roles, and connecting the roles to items in the news. Frequently, we have â€œopen forumâ€ discussions where the students simply pick a role and connect it to something we are learning in class. For example, a child who wishes to beome an astronaut may say that learning about the Sun and planets helped her prepare to be a better worker. Or, someone may point out that discussing the upcoming election helped him prepare to be a better voter and better citizen.
These discussions remind students of the numerous ways in which their learning can be put to use and the numerous reasons why learning matters. Incorporating these talks into the curriculum expands studentsâ€™ perspective, encourages them to think beyond their present reality, and provides them with a glimpse of what a productive, well-rounded life can look like.
In recent years I have used a teaching tool called â€œThe Tower of Opportunityâ€ to strengthen these discussions. I hope to make this tool available to teachers in the future. A complete description of the Tower, along with photos, can be found on this website. In addition, a complete description of the life roles and their potential to enrich your academic instruction can be found in my book Eight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8.
New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.