A Day in a Hillcrest Classroom

Yesterday students arrived to their first hour history class to find the words in the image written on the whiteboard. As students moved Holiday coffee cups and pulled books from their backpack, they stared at the board. With half the class sitting before the first bell rang one student spoke up. What ensued was repeated throughout the day as nearly every class wrestled with the words.

The words on the board were declared from a podium following the New Hampshire primaries. The victory declaration caused students to debate with their teacher, who put the words on the board to test the ideas they are hearing in their history class.

The teacher worked with the students to define fairness. Guiding the conversation, the teacher heard whispers from the back row. He called on a few students to give their opinion, pulling everyone back into the conversation following the grenade-like comment he wrote on the board.

The students in the back row shared some of their ideas of what the foundations of America really are. The class developed a list, that included life, liberty, and equality as foundational for the United States. The classes recalled quotes and ideas from the first half of the year, referring to the separatist Pilgrims and the Jamestown colony.

As the conversation drew to a close there was more clarity for the class. They came to agree that life, liberty, equality, freedom, and opportunity, a short sampling of the list they created, come through hard work and sacrifice. The teacher summed it up with the word meritocracy.

Through critical thinking, using logic and reason, students continue to test views of the world. This test involves asking if a view is consistent with reality, understandable, and complete.

The students at Hillcrest found yesterday that a candidate's victory words are not necessarily true because he said them. Instead, using history, logic, a dictionary-like definition, and reason, the students came to see the truth of the founding of the USA. It's our belief that they are more ready for citizen tasks because of it.

Wayne StenderComment