Growing up, I loved that scene in The Bad News Bears when the crowd at the Astrodome cheered on that makeshift team with, "Let them play! Let them play!" I loved it because the kids refused to stop doing what they were having fun doing. I loved it because the adults cheered them on--cheered them on to play a sport that they loved so much.
Though the chant is a little different, this is the kind of energy that I'm seeing in my classroom. The new chant? Let them create! Let them create! But I'm cheering them on with the fervor of the Astrodome and they are working because their work has real value. The students' work on early American literature is being passed down to younger students within our district and even shared with my educational networks.
Some are using the early literature as a metaphor (a tree whose roots are in the native myths, whose trunk is the early settlers, and whose buds are the pieces of literature surrounding the revolutionary war). Some are using early literature to make author trading cards. And some are making digital books.
The learning, when genuine (that is, when the students are really pushing themselves), is powerful and widespread. Students (and I'm not even sure they realize this) are going back to their notes and back to the literature and even digging in to new research in order to make something meaningful for our younger students and thereby meaningful to them.
LET THEM CREATE! LET THEM CREATE!