This morning, several of my students ran up to me as the bell was about to ring and said, “Have you heard what Aaron can do???”
I casually replied that I hadn’t heard anything today, and they led me to the young man in question. Aaron then proceeded to put his recorder up against his nostril (not a new thing…we have a highly experimental and creative group of students), begin playing a simple repetition of notes, and laying down a beat box groove at the same time.

I was delighted.

As a 5th grade teacher, I’m daily immersed in the borderland between the inventive and the disgusting. It is a terrain I comfortably traverse, having once been a 5th grade boy myself. Aaron’s musical improvisation was wonderful and I immediately asked him if I could record his performance. Happily, he readily consented.

We are just a few days away from the end of the school year. My influence on these kids is, to a large degree, waning. They are barely interested in any official school work and only partially willing to come to attention when I ask them to listen to my directions. It’s to be expected. I was the same way when I was eleven years old.

I want to see them close out this year, though, as experimenters…creators…investigators…dreamers…doers.
If that takes the form of nose flute beat boxing, so be it. Mozart for the 21st century, it’s probably not. But it is evidence that these students are looking at the world around them…at the raw ingredients of life…and asking themselves, “What if…?”

I will call that success any day.