Joy, There Should Be a Place for It in Schools

In the end, what really matters?

As we approach the end of the year, we have noticed that our students are not listless and counting down the days until “summer freedom”.

They are not burnt out or stressed due to weeks of ongoing testing. In fact, they are energized and excited to be working on their final inquiry projects, research papers, books, and planning end-of-the-year events, among many things.

Our students are looking forward to next year, as we will begin discussing plans for what they want to learn and accomplish. Some of them have even taken initiative to begin to think of lessons, books, and other ideas for what they want to incorporate.

They are also reflecting on all they have learned and accomplished this year.

For our final unit and topic of our final showcase, we’ve given our students the space to investigate JOY. A human emotion that is so often overlooked and certainly so in most schools.

If you’ve been following us, you may know that for the last two years, we have had Indi-(t)ED Talks, but this year our kids have gone BIGGER and have pushed themselves creatively. They will be expressing themselves and their ideas in a variety of ways that go beyond speeches.

(This is the human representation of pure joy.)

After spending the last couple months learning about joy, it’s meaning and significance in the world, and after analyzing their own lives, our students have generated BIG ideas. All their ideas are original. They are uniquely their own. They have developed these ideas, written speeches and created meaningful presentations. ​

Some of our resident creatives working on building their presentation.

We believe that the work that goes into these presentations, and the lessons our students learn along the way, are necessary and invaluable. The guidance and skill-building throughout the year has helped get them to this point.

Through these concluding projects, our students gain more than just understanding of a content area but they have also learned…

  • you never genuinely know what you are capable of, unless you push yourself and experience it for yourself.
  • sometimes you will make mistakes, even big ones, but what matters is what you do afterward. What matters is not the mistake itself, but the fact that you didn’t give up.
  • that their ideas are valuable. That it’s okay to THINK BIG. That their ideas can affect others outside of our Indi-ED community, or outside of St. Pete.
  • that JOY is, in fact, a very complex concept. It relates to the meaning of your life, what brings you purpose and peace, and so much more.

We believe that through this process, our students are truly learning by DOING. They are courageous and have support that allows them to take smart risks. They are finding their voices, and in turn, building self-confidence. They are developing into successful 21st century citizens right before our eyes.

Their ideas matter. Their JOY matters. THEY matter.


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