D is for...Diversity
-Diversity is the art of thinking independently together.
The students in our classrooms are like the handful of colored pencils above; full of variety and with their different shade representing their unique abilities and talents. Think about that happy yellow pencil, or the one with a calming blue or energetic orange shade and I am sure that some of your students come to mind. When a bunch of individual colored pencils get grouped together, they form a vivid palette that works together to fill in a beautiful picture together.
Our task as teachers is to take our students and find ways to not only celebrate their uniqueness, but to design ways to have them work together to create those beautiful and meaningful "pictures" or moments together. Classroom activities that have students working together on a goal but that also ask individual members to add in their own points of view and attitudes encourage collaboration and celebrate everyone's diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our goal as teachers is to develop respect for students' opinions and thoughts, but also to encourage teamwork and community building.
Your classroom is a blank canvas every day and your students are that brand new box of colored pencils. How do you highlight the diversity that exists? How do you plan for activities for students to work together but yet be independent thinkers?