Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Late Start to 20time

Yes, yesterday was Halloween. Yes, I just started 20time. No judgment, right? I didn't want to start 20time until really solid norms were in place with my freshmen. I also missed a couple of Fridays in October and wanted to make sure we had a few Fridays in a row to get the 20time momentum rolling.

Last year I started 20time with some brainstorming and the Bad Idea Factory (all blatantly stolen from Kevin Brookhouser). I liked how it went. However, a few tweaks happens this year.

I started the class talking about how my kids have the content of their thoughts controlled - to a certain extent - at school. "Think about this. Write this. Now do this." What did they think about when their brain had free roam of any topic? What did they WONDER about?

I shared that I wondered while hiking. Walking. Doing dishes. In the shower. Places my brain didn't have assigned tasks. NOT at school. I shared that I wondered about why we were murdering the environment. About why people did bad things. About how to run the best history class in possible.

Then kids started writing about what they wondered. If anyone ever tells you that American teenagers don't think, have them do this. Holy cow. The depth and thoughtfulness of their questions was amazing.

After that, we watched one of my favorite videos on all of the internetz: Google X's moonshot thinking video. I framed this video by asking them to think about what happened when people chose to pursue their wonder.

Needless to say, my kids seemed to understand pretty quickly the power of choosing to pursue their wonder.

Next, I briefly talked about how we had virtually eliminated choice and passion from school. How kids often didn't have the space at school to pursue the things they are interested in. About how I struggled with making kids do things that they might not be interested in in my class when I'd rather teach "find your passions and learn about and pursue them" as a class. And most importantly, I told them that I was giving them every Friday back until April to pursue something they were excited about.

Next, they brainstormed things they wished they could do: mental activities, physical activities, hobbies, things to help the school and community, and their own moonshots.

"Woah. LS.  This is hella hard. And really deep." Hearing that every period of the day? On Halloween? On the day they could have skipped school to go the Giants victory parade? That's an #EduWin for sure.

Finally, we got into the Bad Idea Factory. I shared a couple of my ideas from the brainstorm they had done on the board and asked my kids to do the same. Momentum was built. Kids riffed off of each other's ideas. And then the bell rang and they were excited about next Friday. The four panoramic shots of the board are embedded below - there are some spectacular ideas up there. Some great idea. Some intensely personal ones. And some bad ones.

I like the tweaks I made this year. Grounding 20time more concretely in wonder, in moonshots, and in a place to explore and be excited about school really seemed to resonate. I'm excited for next Friday!

Bad Idea Factory: 2nd period

Bad Idea Factory: 3rd period

Bad Idea Factory: 5th period

Bad Idea Factory: 7th period