Last June, our school hosted an event called “Identity Day“, which was started by my Assistant Principal, and had our students share some amazing stories from the day. I obviously wrote about the day, and was honoured to have the opportunity to present about it at the Reform Symposium in the summer of 2010.
What has happened has been amazing. Watching schools in Texas, North Carolina, British Columbia, Ontario, Chicago, Brazil, and many others do their own versions of this idea has had a major impact on my own mindset towards sharing. Also, by watching people create fantastic resources that we can all use to better this event, has shown the power of educators when they work together.
Aviva Dunsinger really hit the nail on the head when she wrote the following:
“Identity Day wasn’t about Success Criteria or test scores. It was a celebration of us. There wasn’t one right answer or one way of completing the project. Staff and students allowed themselves to be creative, and the results were amazing!”
Chris Wejr also saw the impact of Identity Day on building stronger community:
It is so difficult to put the day in words; you had to be in our school to truly get a sense of the pride and excitement in our students. Our school was full of parents, community members and students all genuinely interested in each other. I learned more about our students in one day than I do in an entire year!
When Dean Shareski talked about Identity Day in his fantastic keynote, “The Moral Imperative“, he discussed how as educators we need to share as a way to further education for our students and create this type of impact. Watching others take this idea, build upon student passions in their school, and adapt it based on the needs of their own students, it has only deepened my own belief that as educators, we need to continue to share.
The idea of Identity Day is simple, but its impact can be very powerful. My hope is that by sharing this example of how a simple idea can be shared, grown, and adapted to meet the needs of different school communities, more people will begin to share the powerful things that they are doing in their own classrooms.
We are all here for our kids. We need to continue to share our ideas to create the best environments possible.