Give It to Me!

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Earlier this week as I walked down a hallway at school, I heard several students in the gym calling out, “Give it to me! Give it to me!” When I peeked in, I saw a PE class divided into three groups, each clustered around a basketball goal with teachers running around the perimeter and coaching in to the action. The students were playing a modified game of basketball that involved the basic skills of dribbling, passing, and team dynamics. Guided by their teachers, the students were engaged, they were excited, and they were learning to rely on each other to reach their goal. Their appeals to their team mates to, “Give it to me!” showed that they were fearless in wanting to try new skills and that they weren’t afraid to rely upon each other for help.

As I walked away from the gym, I wondered: What does it take to create an environment outside of the gym where students are just as excited and courageous about tackling new learning? How do we create an environment where students aren’t afraid to take charge of their learning and where they know they can count on their peers as well as their teachers for support?

I can imagine a classroom where students call out , “Give it to me! Give it to me!” when a problem is posed. As the teacher hands off the problem, students grab for it and begin dribbling and maneuvering toward the answer. If they reach an impasse, they call upon their team mates for assistance. And running around on the sidelines – ready to praise, support and coach in – is the teacher.

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