In the Eyes
In our closing opening circles for the year, we always ask students to reflect on a highlight of participating in CIH this year. While the students responses are always varied- making the art work, receiving the art work, watching the videos, making a connection across the globe- the teachers responses are almost always the same, watching the students respond to the return videos and artwork in hand. It is in the eyes that we see the connections-the eyes smile and tell a deeper story than words can. Learning has bridged the mind and heart.
For the little ones, like the second graders at St. Andrew’s School, holding similar earth mobiles sends a breeze of its own in understanding. One child comments in closing reflections, ‘I didn’t realize they would be such good artists.” She opened the door for conversations, and lessons, on not judging a place or people without knowing them. Her understanding is now deeper than “not judging a book by a cover”, in part because she made this connection. Another little boy commented on how “we are alike”. He wasn’t able to articulate what he knows, but he feels it, and we see it in his eyes. This means opening minds to see with more curiosity, and critical thinking, about person and place in a global community
For the older students, especially those who have now connected many times, they take a deeper look. Beyond similarities and differences, they see and feel hope. Gena comments in her survey, “I was given hope. Hope that maybe even in a difficult situation, I can stay strong. I think I gave them hope also.” Gavin and Will, 6th graders, are already researching and working on plans to travel to meet their friends… one day. Noah shares, it has made me more open-minded about myself and others. They express sincere gratitude to be able to have these connections, knowing that it is not every day, or every school, that gets to make friends across the globe and to grow themselves in the process.