Best Possible Selves 23
It has been consistently rewarding to follow the engagement of (and to learn from!) our 5th graders in Leadership Class, and in the activity previewed above it has been especially fascinating to observe the way in which they make choices about things of value. It is clear that they are all excited about doing a project as a whole class on a topic of mutual interest, (i.e., environmental protection, animal rights, women's rights, religious freedom, racial equality), but before we choose the topic we are focusing on the standard or standards by which we might evaluate our success afterward.
The children's response to this exercise has been both encouraging and authentic. No one chose Option #3 as a top priority, but otherwise they are evenly split among all other options. And while they are not reluctant to voice their arguments convincingly, they have been fair-minded in listening to others and sometimes in changing their opinions. To me, this is the ideal scenario whereby engaged and independent individuals must draw on others to do their best possible work. Quite spontaneously, they have identified connection between Options 1-5 and Options 2-4.
As we bring the students together in these groupings for the next part of our planning, I have assured them that I will be responsible to make sure sure that we satisfy the conditions of Options 3: the premium on original research. They may not like the idea of doing "research," but they are nonetheless quite natural in their inclination about "doing" research.