This week I introduced my sixth graders to their digital cameras. We started the semester listening to records and shooting film. I was happy to introduce the concept of anticipation to these young kids- who rarely have to wait for anything. They had to work hard for those early shots. They had to meter their light. They had to set their exposure.They had to focus. They had to fire the shutter, They had to advance the shutter. And then they had to wait for the film to be processed. In the end it was a process that they really took to and we made a decision to start Throwback Thursdays. But today, we went techy and shot with our Nikon Coolpix cameras. It was a simple shoot of each of the kids walking passed a bulletin board in the hall. Something they do a dozen times a day. When we got back to the room we started to throw ideas out about our shoot. We talked about what it is like in the halls. Lockers slamming. Yelling. Laughing. Running. Noise. Panic. Rushing. Fear. Hoping you see someone special. Hoping you don't run into someone who is giving you a hard time. THAT group of girls. THAT group of guys. "Wow", I said, "It sounds like a jungle out there." They said, "Yes, It was." We talked about how hard it is to reach out to people- they said that they often try. One of the kids threw out the idea of treating people the right way in the halls. It was from that idea that we came up with our message. It's a simple question, What would you say if you passed yourself in the hall? It introduces the concept of accountability and empathy. I thought about my own treks in the halls of my high school when records spun and yearbook shots were snapped (on film). Not much has changed. The halls are our first real look at the real world. How we walk through them is our decision. How we treat others is our decision. Some get swallowed up, some get beat up, some walk right down the middle in groups and some stay close to the wall. My favorite times were those rare moments when I walked the hall alone. There was a beautiful light that flowed all the way down the middle cast from the door at the end. Symbolic in many ways, for in the end, we all walk out of those doors for good. We hope that our experiences there helped shape the kind of people we become. KIND being the operative word.