We have so much to celebrate about our students at Byrne Creek!
Carol Ann Tomlinson used St. Exupery’s book The Little Prince to explain a metaphor that both grounds and extends thinking about differentiation or responsive teaching in the classroom. This metaphor guides thinking about differentiation throughout her book, Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom: Strategies and Tools for Responsive Teaching (2003).
Honestly, it has been a while since I read this book. So, finding it was a treat! I love how she explains how building relationships with our students should be at the heart of everything that we do as educators and that our student success depends on this skill! I am very curious to hear what others think about Tomlinson’s ideas and her use of this metaphor. Please share your thoughts with me.
I did not write what follows. But I love it and wanted to share it with you. However, I encourage you to read the whole book.
The following passages is taken from Tomlinson’s book pages 6-9.
Taming the Fox
The Little Prince, a young boy who is in many ways representative of all of us, goes on a pilgrimage to make sense of life. In particular, he needs to understand what love means in the scope of his existence. Along the way, he meets and learns from a varied lot of folks-both wise and foolish. Near the end of his journey, he encounters a fox and asks the fox to play with him. The fox responds that he cannot play with the Little Prince because he-the fox-is not tame. The Little Prince is puzzled and asked what it means to be tamed. The fox observes:
To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a thousands other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world….
My life is very monotonous…And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. (p. 80, 83)
But the Little Prince is skeptical. He is very busy, he explains. He has so many thinks to do-so many things to understand. The fox gives a simple reply: “One only understands the things one tames” (p. 83). The Little Prince agrees to tame the fox.
The fox explains that taming takes time, patience, and listening. Words, he notes, are often the source of misunderstanding. In time, the Little Prince tames the fox, who shares with his new friend two important truths:
“What is essential is invisible to the eye” (p. 87) and
“You become responsible forever for what you have tamed.” (p. 88)
In the end, the fox and the Little Prince must part ways, of course. There is great sadness in the parting, but there is happiness born of fulfillment as well. The two will be joined forever by the small memories the made together-the times they share. Children spend the majority of their waking hours in schools and classrooms. They are dependent on the adults who shape the experience in those schools and classrooms for the quality of each day spent there.
When they enter the classroom, the teacher says to them, “Come play with me”; “Come do the work I have for you here”; “Make my agenda your agenda.” It is likely that each child says to us in his or her own way, “I can’t do that until you have tamed me. I can’t give myself to this place, to this work, to you until I believe in you. I can’t believe in you until I know that you believe in me.” In 30 different ways, students in a class of 30 say to the teacher, like the fox, “ Tame me, please.” They want to feel a personal connection to those who share the classroom with them. They want to be affirmed there.
Like the Little Prince, teachers are skeptical. We have so many things to do, so many things to understand, too many mandates, too many students, too little time in the day that evaporate time. But if we take the risk to “tame” each child who came our way, the uniqueness of every individual emerges. It happens because we show up each day with patience, with the intent to listen. We make time to “see the invisible.”
In the process, we begin to understand what make a creative child unique, what a child with cognitive limitations needs from the classroom to grow, how the culture of a child is shaped by experiences both like and unlike our own, what the very bright child needs to feed both intellect and a sense of belonging, how a student’s particular interest represents that child’s dreams, and so on. We begin to understand what is essential about each learner.
Two Byrne Creek students, Esther and Jeanne, had the opportunity to spend the afternoon of September 25th, 2013 doing radio interviews promoting Byrne Creek’s partnership with Simon Fraser University for Rogers Youth Fund Day. Both girls have participated in the Friends of Simon Program that brings SFU tutors two days a week to work with our students. The Friends of Simon is made possible because of the generous Rogers Youth Fund! It is a fantastic program that we value whole heartedly at Byrne Creek! For more information about the Friends of Simon check it out here.
The girls did a tour of Rogers Radio Vancouver, which you probably know as 96.9 Jack FM, News 1130 and SONiC 104.9. Here is a sneak peek at what they got to participate in during that day:
We are very proud of the work that our Student Government does! If you would like to contribute contact send the Community Room a message! Happy Holidays everyone!
In a world where it seems no-one agrees on anything, a world where politics divides, religion divides, and race and even cultural borders seem to divide, dignity is something that everyone can agree on.” Global Dignity Co-Founders
“Global Dignity is the brainchild of three friends, concerned global citizens who met as Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum: HRH Crown Prince Haakon (Norway), Professor Pekka Himanen (Finland) and founder of Operation HOPE, John Hope Bryant (United States).
The three friends realized that the one thing that everyone in the world could agree on, irrespective of their differences is: We all want our Dignity to be recognized. Dignity is the very foundation of our humanity. Dignity is universal. Dignity is also the source of human rights.
The co-founders created Global Dignity in 2006. Since then they have worked with many Young Global Leaders and other partners in over 40 countries, hosting what are known as Dignity Days. This involves visiting local schools and communities around the world and teaching a “course in dignity” to youth.” (This passage was found here on the Global Dignity home page).
This is the second year that Canada has participated in Global Dignity Day and Byrne Creek Secondary was privileged to be invited to participate this year. With students from more than 60 different countries, diversity is the norm and the school is always seeking ways to connect and unite people that come from a variety of different backgrounds.
The school hosted workshops the day before October 16, 2012 and the day of Global Dignity Day October 17, 2012 with keynote speakers and a teleconference with 12 sites in Canada and one site in Taiwan.
Keynotes for the interactive workshop were Christopher Logan and Orville Lee. Christopher Logan is a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, who was named as the city chair of Global Dignity, Hong Kong. He gave us the context of how Global Dignity Day started. We were very lucky to have him at Byrne Creek!
Orville Lee, former CFL player and SFU Alumni, was convincing as he described how he gained confidence and ultimately dignity as he grew up. He engaged our students with the story of coming to Canada from Jamaican as a young boy and emphasized how ‘Your dignity is your destiny. “ He encouraged everyone to reach out and ask those around you for guidance, and stressed that when people see you working so hard to be a better person and achieve, they will work with you towards success so you don’t have to do this alone. Orville Lee explained how he found his individual dignity and respect through sport. He had a very successful football career and when he retired, he and his wife Ruth Lee started the Pathfinder Youth Society to help vulnerable youth transition.
Students and staff were very excited to have the opportunity to hear the keynotes stories! The message from both was powerful: each of us, in the everyday actions/choices that we make, help shape our world. Living with dignity and promoting a world filled with dignity depends on the simple fact that we all make choices each day that shape our world. The little things that we do, the everyday actions that all people are capable of, influence the world that we live in.
Students worked on their own stories of dignity, sharing them within this school community of peers and then wrote their stories and set a goal to commit to an action that promotes dignity in their world.
We learned that the conversation about what dignity means to each person can vary, but that finding that one exact definition is not the point. It is about creating the space and time to have these important conversations and work together to create a world filled global citizens that understand the importance and rights for all to live with dignity.
Thank you to all of our Byrne Creek partners, teachers and students for making this a successful event. Thank you so very much to our speakers for becoming an important part of Byrne Creek’s story. And a special thank you to Senator Yonah Martin for inviting us to participate and for being such a fantastic role model for living one’s life with Dignity.
Byrne Creek is a school that leads with HEART (Honestly, Empathy, Acheivement, Respect and Teamwork). Last year the school received the ASCD’s Vision in Action: Whole Child Award recognizing the staff’s unique work remaining adaptive and flexible in educational programming initiatives that support the whole child’s development (academic and social emotional). Byrne Creek is look forward to Global Dignity Day next year! We have a Centre for Dialogue videoconference facility and are hoping to find a “Buddy” school to share in our discussion. If you are interested please let us know!
Anto Steko’s grade 8 Art students at Byrne Creek Secondary School, in partnership with the City of Burnaby created 10 4 X 4 murals that represent what community means to Byrne’s students. They will be displayed along the Edmond’s Corridor while our lovely new Community center is being build. Go check them out!
What does community mean to you?
I didn’t record the whole speech….but this is the best part! I hope that you enjoy it!
This is a poem that students in Denise Ferreira’s English class wrote about what it means to be from Byrne Creek. This was a part of Mr. Rawnsley’s acceptance speech in Philadelphia this morning, March 25, 2012….where Byrne Creek was honored to receive the ASCD’s 2012 Vision in Action: The Whole Child Award.