Sunday, April 27, 2014

Walking on Sunshine

This morning I ran almost seven miles in Sand Run Metropark.  It was beautiful, hilly, and fast.

This morning I saw eight deer.

I'm not going to write about those experiences.

This morning I joined some of my students to participate in the Medina Walk out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Event.  A large crowd showed up at 9 am on a chilly but sunny morning to walk 4.5 miles.  That crowd raised over nine thousand dollars.

Most of you know I am an English teacher at Medina High School.  This year I am teaching a Blended Learning Rhetoric and Composition class.  Blended Learning is a combination, or "blend," of face-to-face classroom instruction and online instruction.  Part of the philosophy that I embrace about Blended Learning is that it facilitates community involvement.  I want my students to strive to be good citizens of their school, their community, their state, their country, and their world.  If you'd like more information about Blended Learning, check out my shared blog on the Blended Learning Journey in our school.

I'm getting to our walk in the sun in a minute. If you can hang on, I'd like to show you part of our community project: a video to promote suicide awareness:

I can't watch that without getting a little teary-eyed.  Teen suicide has knocked the tar out of our community in the last year and a half, and my students decided they wanted to do something about it. Along with bringing community members together to film this video, they raised five hundred dollars and donated it to the Battered Women's Shelter of Medina.  This community walk was a way for us to think about those we lost and talk about ways we can contribute to the solution.

We walked for 4.5 miles through streets, parks, and neighborhoods, and we talked.  I try not to lead my students, in class and out, because I want them to learn to lead themselves and others.  I try to listen rather than talk.  This was a perfect opportunity for me to listen.  The students talked and laughed about Prom.  They poked fun at each other and at me.  Then, as often happens on walks or runs, they got serious.  One student told me why she was glad that she took my course.  She told me what she learned and how it made her feel.  Another told me that she felt that our class had bonded more than any of her other classes at the school.

Every one of those students told me that they were so glad to get up and walk together in the sunshine at nine in the morning.

It was perfect.

Bright smiles, glowing faces

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