Why We Should Add a Second Changemaker
Here at Synapse, we have a changemaker whom we learn about and follow throughout the year. By the end, we end up with new perspectives about the world we live in. This system is great, and it is a very effective tool for learning. Adding a second changemaker would drastically change the learning environment in a positive way. Synapse administrators should add a second changemaker because it would engage the students and allow teachers to dive deeper while strengthening students abilities to make connections. A second changemaker engages students by broadening the bounds of the curriculum.
One of the reasons we have a changemaker is because it helps students make connections. Making connections is a skill that is important in understanding how the world works. As a child, you make simple connections like seeing a bottle and knowing it’s time to eat or understanding that a dark room means it’s time for bed. “We continue to make these connections all the way into adulthood, and these connections are what allow us to understand and be successful in the world we live in. This can be as simple as recognizing the need to bring your umbrella to work when the sky is dark and cloudy, to making smart financial decisions because you understand interest rates and debt accumulation,” says Kylie Rymanowicz of Michigan State University. According to Cathy Allen Simon from ReadWriteThink Teacher Resources, making connections is also important in reading. Simon reads:“Students who make connections while reading are better able to understand the text they are reading. Students are thinking when they are connecting, which makes them more engaged in the reading experience.”
Now, back to the subject of changemakers. Finding a changemaker that can intrigue kindergarteners as well as 8th graders is near impossible. There is an entire book about the issue of combining people’s very different needs called The End of Average by Todd Rose. Back to our changemaker, Fred Rogers is a fabulous role model for young students. He teaches about community, discrimination, and bullying in a very understandable way. However, some teenagers may find that learning about things meant for 3-5-year-olds is boring. Instead, we could be learning about the most renowned scientists, authors, politicians, activists, and creative minds. If we were to add a second changemaker geared toward older students, student motivation would increase. Also, introducing a second changemaker would enable teachers to dig deeper into their core subjects. A changemaker is great because it helps students make connections between subjects which is a very useful life skill explained before. However, constantly being tied to a certain person can sometimes cause trouble. Especially this year, most of ⅞ has not been a big fan of Fred Rogers, due to the fact that he didn’t have any interesting or new discoveries. In math, it is almost impossible to tie geometry and algebra to Fred Rogers. If we implemented a science-based changemaker, middle school teachers could more closely relate their subjects. Subjects comprising of more related topics gives the students a way deeper understanding of the years theme and swapping that each year would give students a complex and advanced skill set.
Some might think that adding a second changemaker would destroy the unique bond between the lower and middle school. However, that is not the case. How much does a changemaker really affect the schools unity? This year, the middle school has hardly related to Fred Rogers, and mostly everything the lower school is learning is common knowledge to middle schoolers. Again, the changemaker isn’t even that involved with students education. It’s the front page of the school, but once discussed, doesn’t come up to often for the rest of the year like it should. But the only way to make the changemaker more involved in the education is by adding a second one.
Here’s the solution: each year we select two changemakers to meet different criteria. First, we have a socially active changemaker like Dolores Huerta, or Fred Rogers, oriented around the younger kids to effectively teach about social issues. Additionally, we have a second changemaker who is more involved in scientific discoveries like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or Ben Franklin who will be oriented around the middle school. That way, teachers can dive deeper, and students get more variety between classes while still making connections between subjects.