Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sometimes it's worth it.

at Two Writing Teachers!
Chook.  I look over to see one of my students snapping a picture of the SMARTboard with his phone.  Cute.

"Lo puedo grabar?" (Can I record it?) asks another, grabbing her phone. Didn't expect that! 
"Sure!" I grin and sit back.

A few are in our school's marching band.  Some have never even seen a marching band.  I don't think any of them have been to an OSU football game.  Some haven't been to an American football game.

I watch and listen to them watching and listening.

Wide eyes.  Wiggly bodies.  Pointing arms.

"Where is it going to make the Ohio?"

"No look, there's four of them, all over!"

"We did like this last week for Homecoming!"  (Once a year, our town's high school bands have always done a simplified version, with our town's name instead of Ohio.)

"WHOA, that is so cool, how do you guys go through each other like that?"

"Oh yeah, look, they have to go through each other right there!"

"Isn't it hard to march like that while you're playing?"

"Who's taking the video?"

"Sweet, look, I see how it's making Ohio!"

"Aw, they separated you and your husband?"

"How did you guys ever learn how to do that?"

"You guys practiced that a lot, right?"

"3:30 in the morning?!"

"How come the guy who makes the dot is so special?"

"WHOA look at the 4 Ohios!"

"Wow, how many people are in that stadium?"

Sometimes it's worth it to take five minutes of class time to weave the threads of a connection that will last all year.  Just like sometimes it's worth it to practice even when you're too tired, to get up at 3:30 in the morning, and to cram another thing into your already busy schedule.

Tradition is worth it.  Pride is worth it.  Connections are worth it.


  1. I was just talking to my son about this, because he joins the Univ. of MO band at homecoming (was a member of Marching Mizzou) but they don't do the amazing stuff you all do, Jennifer, they just play in the stands. I imagine your students loved this, & were amazed at how it worked. You gave them an experience they won't soon forget. Love the phone thing. I am taking more pics of teacher's ideas in classrooms lately-very good to capture. Thanks for the story!

    1. Cool, Linda! I love to hear about other college bands that have alumni reunions!

  2. P.S. I was in the East script (right side of the screen) and my husband was in the West one.

  3. So glad you are inviting your students into your world and that they love it.

  4. Five minutes--five minutes once in awhile to let your students find out you are a real person. Five minutes to find out THEY are. Connections really aren't that tough. I love that you took time to show this. To let them see another side of you.

    Writing this in dialogue really brought me into your classroom --thanks for sharing!

  5. So very worth it, Jennifer. Relationships matter. When we connect with kids and share anchor moments we open ourselves and our hearts to them. Students recognize that and because of the connection find hope and motivation. Good reminder.

  6. Knowing they wanted to record it is one of the highest compliments you could receive from teens! How cute! I wish there was a way to measure the impact of those five minutes on the rest of your instruction. We need to package that and present it to the powers that be. This slice was a great start to capturing the power of living our stories in our classrooms!

  7. Love that you shared this video with your students. Excited that you are part of an awesome college band tradition that our family admires.


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