"People say that it can't work...; well here we make it work, everyday." -Remember the Titans
I was watching that movie on TV last weekend and I couldn't help but think of my little group of 4th and 5th graders forced to comingle and work together to create some semblance of a whole. The developmental differences between the two age groups are glaringly obvious. The rift that having more students of one grade level (the older students!) than the other should divide us to a point that we can not recover. But it doesn't. My class shouldn't work together as a cohesive unit. But it does.
In the past week, especially with my girls, I have noticed the type of catty behavior that begins to divide people (not students, PEOPLE) into an us vs. them mentality. It disturbs me a great deal to see groups of people tearing down what we have worked so hard to built. Instead of letting that happen, of course, I had to step in yesterday and remind my students of where we once were and how far we've come. I think that self-sabotage can sometimes be our greatest enemy, but they have already gotten a taste of what would happen should we let our hard work crumble.
"If we don't come together right now, we too will be destroyed. I don't care if you like each other or not, but you will respect each other."
The screen writer might as well have written my speech yesterday. If nothing else, the words are powerful...and hopefully, just maybe they'll ring serious enough to make a change. We shouldn't work, but when I look around at my students working in cooperative learning groups and sharing ideas, and when they come back from recess beaming and boasting that they all played a game together that day (boys AND girls), I know that we can...and that we do.