Here at DAA, we spent the first six weeks focusing on what it means to be a member of our community. Students cooperated to create crew promises, wrote personal hopes and dreams for the school year, and created expectation posters that give gentle reminders as to what we should be doing where, that will live in the different shared spaces of our building for the rest of the year.
Talking so much about two of our Habits of Character, Responsibility and Integrity, in those first weeks of school set us up extremely well for our first 1st grade expedition topic: garbage. To begin this expedition, we took an observation walk first around the perimeter of our school, and then through our neighborhood, noticing the trash and litter lining some streets and in our park. Our students immediately decided that we needed to do something about the trash! In the words of one of our first graders, “When there is trash everywhere, people won’t want to stay; they’ll want to leave Detroit!”. We brainstormed ideas of how to combat this problem and the students came up with ideas ranging from hosting a community trash pickup day, to designing a robot that will travel around our neighborhood to pick up the trash for us. We decided to start small by simply spending our expedition time one Monday afternoon to pick up trash as a crew. We filled up two huge garbage bags … just in our own backyard park! The students couldn’t believe it, but as we debriefed, we realized: is picking up trash one time going to solve the problem? So later that week, we did the same thing, and the students were even more shocked to find that we filled up another huge bag full of trash only 3 days later! The students are convicted: we have to do something more! But as a crew we realized that before we can solve the problem, we need to learn more about how this garbage and litter is affecting our neighborhood, community, and world.
Update coming soon as to how these first grade world-changers do just that (: