Finding our Voices

Folks at home,

I could not be prouder of the students for the work they have done over the last week and today as Members of Provincial Parliament.  In my role as Speaker of the House, I was not able to take pictures, and also I forgot.  But today we debated Bill 118, which proposed to change the structure of the school year so that holidays were spread out and students were in school over 12 instead of 10 months of the year.  Not only were individual speeches very well done, I was particulary impressed with the active listening during our session today, with students responding vigorously and astutely to the ideas of other MPPs.   Here are two samples from both sides.

From the Member for Rainy River (the Minister of Education):

Mr speaker.

I am the member from Rainy River, in the red party.

I think the school year should be spread over the year. It would be better for both the kids and adults. They will have more time and more relaxing time.

My first example is for older people, like teachers. Teachers have to work and work all day or night. They won’t have time to rest except for the long break that’s only once! If we spread it out they will have breaks to work they can do it on the breaks. It good because they can do report cards and more to.

Forgetting is another reason too. They will forget and think about how awesome it was on their vacation was.  Also they will forget thing like how to do long division, strategies to math and other thing, school rules and other things.  Forgetting can really be a concern because about ⅕ of the year they spend time learning the same things.

My third example is that, the kids would get really jittery and they could go crazy at the last day of school. The teacher would probably take as much work on a regular day then the last day of school!(because they are so excited for the break).  The day when they get a week off they will not be so excited.

My last example is a debate. We will try it for one year and see how it goes. The kids and parent would not have to worry if they don’t like it. We could see how it goes because in the summer the kids could get more active, also they can get all the seasons we don’t have to skip any. If you’re not getting this then you will get this. We could try and if it does not work then we will go back to normal. We could do a vote to see what the citizens think. It’s always good to try something new.   

So my opinion is you should spread out, I feel like it’s a good idea   

And, from the Member for Moonbeam, in the Official Opposition Party:

Mr. Speaker,

I am the member from the blue party and I think we should not spread school through the summer. I think this because kids need a summer break without teachers.  

When kids have too much knowledge it tends to ‘slip out’.  During school, kids are stressed about their grades and Upset because of the people. During the summer, Kids aren’t on school Electronics such as iPads and Chromebooks. During the summer kids can see family and friends that live far away,  and they can travel.

Summertime gives teachers a break from loud, noisy, and disrupting kids. (;when i was a young child I was none of these things;).  

I get why  you think this would be a good idea,  when kids get a break they will be feisty on the first day of school, Yes it would be easier. But,  if we don’t give them a summer break they will grow to hate school. Then kids wouldn’t want to go to college or university or become a teacher because they don’t want to make kids feel how they felt. There be no big jobs because nobody would want to go to school for them.  having no summer break would have a big impact on the kids futures. unless you want to be the cause of all of their life going down the drain, you will not make this law. Thank you.

Thanks for engaging in conversation about voting, sharing your views–it makes for great conversation here at school, and the students are so fired up with ideas.  Some of it can be a bit overwhelming, and I am conscious of the risk that things in their world can seem bleak.  My purpose is to help them to see that they can use their voices to influence change.

Leading us to the last big assignment of the year (weirdly, there may be big spaces between the pieces, not sure why):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just got this today, and there was lots of excitment.  Tomorrow I will begin meeting with each student to ensure their topic has a focus (ie. perhaps “car idling” over “global warming” or “shelters” over “homelessness”) and seems manageable.  Then we’ll talk about gathing and organizing research and how to write a letter that makes people want to help instead of just making them mad.  This is not intended primarily as a “home” project, but some elements may make their way home.  You are of course welcome to engage in the conversation, bounce ideas around.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.

 

 

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