For the past four years I have spent time thinking about and pondering words, specifically the “Power of Words.” I believe words are a secret, yet a very visible and audible, superpower—one not many “Superheroes” are known for, but a superpower nonetheless.
At the beginning of the school year I talk with my students about the power of words. I make it clear to students that each of them have a choice in how they use their words—as a way to bring about greatness or as a weapon of hurt, anger, defeat and so forth.
We discuss people from history who used the power of words. Some of the individuals have included Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Hitler. We then move to present day individuals such as the former President and First Lady Obama, Oprah, Ellen, Malala. Before too long we are having a discussion of all types of people—from writers, to musicians, athletes to entertainers who have had an influence (positive or negative) through something they have said or written.
When we read different texts from our Language Arts Anthology, Social Studies text, Science passages or Math problems we find language that is impactful. Sometimes the language inspires creativity, other times we explore science asking questions and searching for answers. In Social Studies, we talk about individuals’ stories who may not be included in what we have read. We conduct a search for further information about them. Similarly, when we write on Kidblog and others read what we have written, ideas are formed that lead to more writing and reflection.
As my class and I explore more of the power and influence of words we find energy, encouragement, and innovation through the words we hear, speak, read and write. We empower ourselves by writing a class mission statement together and personal declarations based off of positive characteristics of ourselves. We also use Kidblog to write encouraging words to each other by commenting on the blog posts of classmates. Sometimes a simple comment such as “I agree with you” or “I had a similar experience” adds validation and recognition to the writer about their thoughts and experiences. We also create conversation when comments such as, “I disagree because…” are posted, and these conversations help to develop clearer understanding of self and others and sometimes ignites passion regarding a topic.
Words have influence in our world. They are powerful. Working with children, teens, and young adults to help them create power, as well as, empower others through their words is what makes teachers super-heroic.