Of what are you most proud?

I live in the present, almost to a fault. For the past two years, open house just snuck up on me. However, this year, I was determined to prepare. I'm really proud of the things my students are creating, and I wanted to make sure to display it in some way. My eighth graders made some cool posters, analyzing the characters in The Tempest. My sixth graders wrote paragraphs on the people they go to when they need advice.

But I was stuck with what to do for my seventh graders. We just finished a debate, which was awesome, but there was no way to put that on the walls. And they've

created really amazing things, but I didn't feel like paper would do it justice. You just can't put a movie on paper. Therefore, I decided to ask them a simple question:

Of what are you most proud in Language Arts this year?

And all of the major things we've done in class were represented. Some loved what they did for our iBook of A Christmas Carol. Some loved the "I Have a Dream" speeches they wrote. Some loved the movies they wrote and produced. Some loved the stories they created for books they published. They each shared something unique to them and their personalities and gifts. 

They each wrote four sentences describing the thing of which they were proud, gave a photo of the product, and added a QR code and shortened URL. This way, visitors to our classroom could see a small snapshot of their work and then view it by visiting the link. 

I was blown away by their responses. In a world that constantly tells middle schoolers what they aren't doing well, I loved reading what they were proud of. This classroom is consistently bashful about sharing their work, so I especially loved seeing them proudly say what they did well. If you stopped by, these are some of the things you'd read:

  • "I'm really proud of this project because we faced some difficulties, but managed to create a high quality video in the end."
  • "I am very proud of this movie because it was the first ever Minecraft movie at this school."
  • "I am most proud because I think our group worked really well together, which helped us pull the movie off... our group had a bunch of fun doing this too."
  • "The process was a lot of hard work, but the final product was worth it."

Reading their responses was one of the most encouraging things I've done in a long time. It's made me determined to continue asking the question "Of what are you most proud?" to my students, myself, and other people I meet along the way.