Bless Sterling's heart. Bless.
Sterling is the child who you can find sitting in the group of children with his head in a cloud and his eyes anywhere but where I am. It is common to hear me, mid-sentence, bring Sterling back with a 'Sterling, up here, friend', and finish my previous sentence like I had never stopped.
But, Sterling, the biggest space cadet in the class, is also the only student I would EVER feel safe being caught in an emergency situation with, per the answers to the following project, described below. His thoughts blew our minds away.
The project was a culminating part of our unit about Migration. The students were asked to bring a small shoe box full of 3-5 items that they would take with them were they forced to migrate from home (similar to the nature of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower or the Slaves on the Underground Railroad).
Sterling got up during his turn, and in his own special manner, presented the following. It was obvious that he had packed the stuff randomly, and was likely making it all up when he got there. Unlike the other kiddos, he had not practiced what he would say, but it turned out not to matter, as his ability to pull the usefulness out of anything was about to be revealed.
Sterling: 'Uhhh,' (looking blankly at the objects) 'I'd bring this fork. Then I could kill animals and eat it. And I brought this string so that I could maybe tie it to the fork and throw it in the tree to spear fruit. If it was too high for me to get at. Then, um, I brought this mirror so that I could make fire with sunlight. I would do it like this.' (Shows the class). 'And this plastic cup to get water from the river. A plastic would be good because a glass one might break....'
Now, we were amazed (and trying not to laugh out loud) during this presentation, as it was the most clever and useful set of tools any student had packed. Then, students were allowed to ask questions, and Sterling aced each one of them:
Jason: "Sterling - the water in the river will be dirty. How will you drink it?"
Sterling: "Well, maybe I could boil it with the fire. Or, I could use the fork to dig deep into the ground to get water from under there - it's probably clean"
(and so on and so forth)
Sterling wasn't the only star of the group. We had a lot of really great items brought, and well debtated for their good use. Listed below are a few more gems that students decided to bring, and why:
Kiana: "I've got an eye mask so that we can sleep on the ship if someone else is in the same room and I want to get some rest."
Michael brought a hammer, which was a good and original idea. But he was later asked by Taisuke, "Why did you bring a hammer? It's quite heavy. Couldn't you just use a rock?" (yet another brilliant idea!)
Gustavo: "I'm bringing this extra pair of eyeglasses, because if mine break, I can still see!"
Jayden: "I've brought a picture of my family in case I miss them, and just to remember one fun thing that we did together."
Ricco and I have worked hard all year to get the students to think creatively and critically. We were impressed by all of their items and presentations , and felt, from the awe we felt during their presentations, that the unit, as well as the hard work we've expected from them so far this year, has indeed been a success.