I must say day after day and week after week I am continually amazed by my peers and what they come up with! Last Thursday we had our final meet up for class and we got to share our final “makes” for the semester. While everyone had amazing ideas, I think what stuck with me the most was the fact that everyone went in so many different directions with the project. I am usually such a “rule follower” and I always want to know exactly what is expected of me. However with this final assignment, I thought it was so neat that it was open-ended because we got so many interesting ideas out of the same assignment!

I think there were so many projects that were exciting to me. I loved Samantha K’s idea of creating a “Multi-Cultural Night” at her school. We do something very similar at my own elementary school and it is amazing to see how much learning and connecting goes on at an event like that. I think it is super ambitious and impressive that Samantha wants to take this event up on her own, and I love that she is seeking out community members and students to help her with the project. I think it takes a very dedicated and innovative individual to evoke change in their school community and I think Samantha is well on her way to doing that! Awesome job!

I also loved Jamie’s weebly website about tackling food insecurities. I have often felt as a teacher, fairly helpless when it comes to helping students who are facing food insecurity. Sure I can provide them a snack in class, but what about helping the child after they leave my classroom? I think Jamie’s idea of creating a resource for teachers and community members to access for information about this topic is extremely powerful. This type of resource allows teachers to feel they have somewhere to turn for help in helping their students. I just love how creative the idea was, and how it came out of a need that Jamie saw in the community. Again, it is just so interesting and amazing how vastly different, yet how exciting still, all the projects I saw presented were. We really each followed our passions and created amazing things!

The major question that this whole project and presentation raised for me was “how do we continue this work together?” I am so fascinated and in awe of so many of my classmates and what they are doing in their communities. I know we all have a shared purpose in this course we are taking, but beyond this course, how can we stay connected to one another? I think it would be such a shame to lose touch with so many creative teachers and individuals! I wonder if we will continue to update our blogs and share with each other what we are doing in our own communities. Perhaps Arcadia can continue to create a link between us that will bond us together in such a way that we continue to make connections and utilize each other as resources in our paths moving forward.

I am very grateful for this course in that it has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about connecting to one another and to the community and creating equity within the community.  Before taking this course I thought mostly about my classroom, about the students sitting directly in front of me and how I could best help them. I think this course has taught me to think outside of just my four walls and look beyond just the students in front of me. Whether it is a small move, or something larger, I think I have learned that I am capable of seeing the larger picture, and helping to take part in adapting that larger picture to be more equitable. Before this course, “connected learning” and “equity” seemed so far out of reach, a lofty idea that sounded good in theory, but difficult in practice. However, I think now I am at least feeling more confident in my abilities and I am more able to realize that any move, big or small, towards connecting others and building equity, is important. It is simply being willing to take that first step that is at the heart of it all.