A few months earlier, just after the EF5 tornado beat up on Joplin, I had met the co-founder of RCA, Kim Bearden. She invited me to Atlanta to spend a day in the school on a regular school day, and I jumped at the opportunity. While there, I sat in classrooms to observe.
But the day turned out to be anything but regular.
While I observed in those classrooms and corridors, my mission was to learn more about what made the place tick. I wanted to find out how they did the things they did, how they achieved their results, how they reached their potential and soared above normal expectations.
Part of the answer has always been a goal for this teacher - to create a magical atmosphere. I want not only to host my students in a classroom that appears different, but one in which they are immersed in the lessons. I want the classroom to transform around my students, to become more than just another tick on their elementary timeline.
Mrs. Bearden addresses this in the second chapter of Crash Course, the book she wrote about the lessons she has learned in her career as an educator.
We all need a little magic in our lives - we need to allow ourselves to imagine, to dream, to delight in a world that is full of mystical wonder. When we are young, we revel in fairy tales; we talk to the invisible and even imagine that we hear them answer. I believe that we can still capture the joy that comes from these illusions and experience them as adults...
That's part of what makes RCA so successful, and it is part of the motivation for kids at any level. In fact, it may be why adults are paying money to be "locked" into escape rooms around the country. We're still pretending!
So why not capitalize on the magic? What would be wrong with making "each classroom come alive"?
This collective commitment to creating magic permeates our school, and it begins with our staff. We support each other in our quest to make each classroom come alive. Together, we realize the power of instilling such joyful experiences in the hearts of our students; the magic ignites a fire for learning deep within them.