Martin Luther King knew there was power in words. He knew that he needed to write down the words in his head and share those words with others. Words are powerful. More powerful than anything. Words, like hate, can bring us down and words, like love, can lift us up. Since so much has changed and so much is sadly still the same, it is crucial that we are teaching our children about the power of their words. We need today's children, who are tomorrow's adults, to write down the words in their heads and share those words with others. Just like Dr. King did. We need to remind them of the "fierce urgency of now" just as King did in his speech.
As King said, "Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." Soul force. I choose to believe that Dr. King was speaking of the power of our words when he was talking about "soul force." And how lucky are we educators who are able to work with the most beautiful souls...children. We need to ignite the fire; we need to make sure that our students recognize their soul force, the power in their voices, their words.
I choose to not watch the news. But even without watching the news, I still hear about and read about how hate seems to be spreading throughout our country...even possibly seeping out of our nation's capital. Maybe I am naive. Maybe I am still hopelessly optimistic. But I choose to watch the events and happenings that unfold in our school and other schools across the nation. I listen to students who still see the good in people. I hear kids talk about how they will make the world a better place. Dr. King had a dream about mankind. Although I have the reality of today which is not too much different from 55 years ago, I do have faith in our kids. They have a lot to say. And their words are powerful.
Here's a great clip I came across where students imagined what a Dr. King campaign speech might be like today:
And my new favorite weekend activity is listening to several of these NPR clips that contain Kwame Alexander interviews. In this short seven minute clip, Kwame and another amazing poet, Nikki Giovanni, talk about the importance of using language to protest. They especially focus on protesting through poetry by sharing some powerful poems. Whether it's poetry, persuasive writing, writing important, informational pieces, or writing narratives, we need children to embrace the power of their words. We need them to understand that what they say is important, that they have so much to share with the world, and it starts with putting letters together to make words, and then words together to make sentences, and then sentences together to make a difference.
Yes, let's remember Dr. Martin Luther King. Let's remember his words. But let's also keep focusing on the little humans in front of us each day. Let's make sure we are encouraging them to share their words. We need their "soul force" to be heard loud and clear. We need more word warriors.
How will you empower your word warriors today and the next day and the next?
Although it's a tough read, I am glad I recently picked up a book I had started at the beginning of the school year. I have not been able to put The Hate U Give down. While it's not a book I recommend for elementary aged students, it is a book that people need to read. It is current. It is raw. The author forces us to read about and not look away from racism and police brutality which is unfortunately a part of our world today.
Events this week:
Monday- MLK Day, No school
Wednesday- SST Meeting @ 8:00, grade 4 chorus practice @ 2:20, Staff meeting @ 3:30
Friday- District-wide half day, 12:15 dismissal, multi-part series and committee meetings
Great things I noticed last week:
- 1st graders enjoyed trying out the new light table that the PTA bought!
- Students in Mrs. Nissi's class were discussing perpendicular and parallel lines.
- Students in Mrs. Potter and Ms. Schumaker's class were diving into work with all sorts of angles.
- Mrs. Devereaux's 1st graders were moving and grooving to some GoNoodle before they got started with reading and writing.
- Be sure and check out the bulletin board in the lobby. We have been filling it with #oneword2018, words that students have selected to guide them this year.
Check it out:
Here's the story of Martin Luther King, Jr as told by Kid President: