As educators I think it is extremely important for us to remember that our students are “curious and critical thinking civic agents in their own way”. We want to make sure that each student knows that they are contributing members of a society and that their opinions and voices do matter. All the members of a school (students, teacher, parents, nurses, administrators, etc.) have a shared purpose. Many times the shared purpose shows through in a school mission statement, moto, or even slogan. An example of this is the mission statement for the school I am currently doing my pre-student teaching with.
It is the Mission of Fort Washington Elementary School to inspire our students to believe that learning is a lifelong adventure and that success means doing our best, being our best, and feeling proud in our efforts.
What I think is really neat about this school is that everyone in the school community knows what their mission (shared purpose) is and they work towards it every day. Every month they even have a “Town Hall Meeting” where the whole school, even parents are invited, comes together and reflects on how they have been working as a community to live by their shared purpose of “doing our best, being our best, and feeling proud”. It is a really cool experience to witness.
One implication that I took away from this week’s topic of Shared Purpose is how important it is to share and explain the purpose for the lessons we teach. So often students asked “why are we learning this” and I think it is our job as their teachers to not only teach them those skills but to explain to them why it is important that they learn them. Once we share the purpose of our teaching with our students they can begin to see the importance of the lesson and become more motivated to learn.
I also think that when our students work together for a common purpose it gives them ownership of their work. They are able to see how their work is contributing to a greater good and how even though they may all come from different backgrounds they can still come together to work on common goals.
This week we were also asked to create a short presentation about our views on Shared Purpose using a program called Flipgrid, so I wanted to reflect on that a little bit. Flipgrid allows individuals to post 90 second videos to a group sharing space. (I didn’t really realize how short 90 seconds really is!) There is an app version of the program but I used the website to complete the assignment. Overall I though the site was very user friendly and simple to navigate. It is a very simple website and I am actually shocked that there is a cost for it. Could you just have students post short videos on a classroom YouTube page? I am not sure the cost is worth it.