Slice of Life, Chapter 21

(This is part of the Slice of Life Project)

We are Ice Legend!

I could not resist that recent-movie-inspired opening, as my students have collaboratively and with great interest (and, I am happy to report, very little dispute) decided upon a name for our class team in this year’s Quidditch Tournament (coming up in April).

This decision on what to call ourselves is always an interesting process to watch unfold and I do try to guide it carefully to keep everything civil. Some years, the choosing of name can lay to waste a year’s worth of good will, particularly if the class divides itself down the middle. It’s only a name to me. To them, the name defines them, so I have to be sure to keep the weight of such a decision in mind as I move us through the process.

Over a few days time, they brainstormed a list of names. This gives everyone a chance to contribute, even if the contributions are sometimes silly. I allow room for this silliness since it helps keep us grounded (gotta foster silliness at times if you wanna stay sane). Thus, we get names like The Typhoon Penguins or Hodgepodge (they love to make fun of my name in times like this).

Next, we do some talking about the names and then move on to some silent voting, going through a couple of rounds to see which ones have no support at all and which ones seem to float to the top. The voting this year took four rounds to get to our final name.

Perhaps in some anticipation of this name emerging as a winner, one of my boys — not always on task — presented me with this possible symbol (soon, we will be designing t-shirts and posters and flags and other items and we try to have a common symbol):

So, We are Ice Legend.

But I kind of wish they have voted for Ice Writers (he says mournfully). But that name only got one vote in the early round (it wasn’t me — I don’t vote) and then it was knocked out of consideration.

Now, we need to invent the legend of the Ice Legend (cue music: Led Zep’s Immigrant’s Song: We come from the land of the ice and snow ….)

Peace (in collaborative decision-making),
Kevin the Ice Writer

  1. I used to do this same kind of collaborative decision making with my Pre-K classes and the other teachers would say I was nuts because it would often result in a very silly name for a class pet or take home stuffed animal but it sure give the kids ownership.

  2. Decisions via the democratic process is one of my favorite things to watch in a classroom. Great final product, creative list from your students, responsive teaching, and Led Zeppelin (my favorite group from the past) all in one post! Can it get better than that? We can’t do this process enough with kids. Their voice is so different from ours. I would never have picked “Star Fox” as the class newsletter name ten years ago but it was a popular game among my first grade class. I would never have picked the name Jackie (as in Chan) for our class guinea pig, but… you get the picture. Your class will always remember their Quidditch team name. Fun slice.

  3. I agree with Blink! The democratic process that they will never forget. Maybe as life throws them curve balls and disappointments with the political process, they will remember your learning environment with longing.

  4. Totally cool process. I use a similar process to review for unit tests. We brainstorm everything we learned and then vote on the three most important ideas. Everyone has to defend why their idea is an important aspect of the lesson. It’s neat to see how much they do remember, and it allows plenty of discussion to clarify any misconceptions.

    Personally, here I would have voted for “Arctic Rush”

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. I love it — the name and your process. Most of the decision-making in my class is done by democratic process, and it’s always interesting to me to see how students adjust to that. Usually, they go through the motions but don’t really believe I’ll abide by the group decision … and when I do, they’re shocked. Sometimes their responses are funny, but mostly it’s disheartening to see how little weight they think their wants and needs have, how little they think their opinions count.

    When I looked at the list of proposed names for your team, my eye when instantly to “Ice Writers” and I thought, ‘oh, that’s the one I would have voted for!

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