Teacher Gary Karlson's third grade class at the Roanoke Avenue Elementary School in Riverhead, Long Island, did the Let Grow Project every week for a year last year. The results had the parents weepy with joy. The kids? They were just proud and happy.
What IS the Let Grow Project?
It's "homework" that can be assigned once a week, once a month, or even once a year, whereby the kids are told to go home and, with their parents' permission, do something new, ON THEIR OWN, that they feel ready for: Walk the dog. Make a meal. Do something down the block. A million things.
SOMETHING EVERY KID CAN SUCCEED AT
Karlson invited Let Grow to attend the year-end celebration of the Project. As he points out in the video, the Project allowed ALL kids -- from superstars to strugglers -- to succeed at something. Each week the kids came bounding up the stairs to tell him what new thing they'd tried. He had them write their activities on little paper leaves -- "I made the tortillas" "I learned to ride a bike" -- whatever. Then he put these on a hall bulletin board that was so inspiring, this school year all the third and fourth grade Roanoke teachers are doing the Project.
One side benefit, Karlson added, was that at his school, which has a large number of new immigrants and kids on free or reduced lunch, many parents he might not have had much interaction with started sending him a flurry of texts and photos because they were so excited by what their kids were doing: This is my son making dinner! Or: My daughter on her bike. Says Karlson, "I feel like they are engaging with the school in a whole new way."
The whole experience changed Karlson, too: "For years we put 'Responsibility' as a character word in Month X, but it was the most meaningless thing. A waste of ink," he said. Now it's real.
SEEING STUDENTS DIFFERENTLY
What's more, "It allowed us to re-examine and modernize the way we relate with kids." Seeing kids not just as students, but as people growing in so many different ways deepened the relationship.
If you'd like to consider having your school or class do the Let Grow Project, great! Please click here.
You will find a description of the Project, instructions for teachers on how to do it (really straightforward), a letter to send home to parents, and a page of some possible Let Grow activities for the kids to do. All our materials are free of charge. We even send out free Let Grow stickers.
Questions? Comments? Drop a line to Info@LetGrow.org. Or if you've already done the Project -- tell us how it went! Inspire other schools!
Here's to the miracles wrought by teachers and parents trusting their kids with some responsibility and independence. -- LS