I usually have “starting work” on the board for my students as they enter the class. They will work quietly for the first five minutes or so, which helps them to focus on what we’re doing… and gives me the chance to recover from the class before!
Often, I will ask them to journal about an idea, quote, or topic.
We’re currently in the midst of a unit about Eric Liddell, a Chinese missionary turned to Scottish sprinting sensation and back again. To attempt to get them thinking about this, I asked them to journal about heroes. What is a hero? Who is a hero to you? Why?
There were lots of rather heart-warming answers. I often have to remind myself that my students are only 12 years old – they offer impressively deep thoughts and mature answers on a regular basis. Many of them said that Jesus was their hero, for his sacrifice, love, etc. Others wrote about their parents being their heroes, because of all that they had done to raise them and love them unconditionally.
One of my favorites, though (Warning: this may make me seem shallow. I really do appreciate all of the thought-out, sweet answers, too. Promise.), came toward the end of the stack.
One simple sentence:
“Batman is my hero because he made two and a half hours of my life more enjoyable.”
We may have some work to do on the whole understanding heroes thing, but props to this kid.