Sunday, May 3, 2015

Be more awesome.

If Kid President walked into my classroom tomorrow and said he was staying for the rest of the year, I'd actually not only be okay with that, I'd change my lesson plans to reflect the good that would come as a result of the inspiration.  KP, and his friend, Rainn Wilson, have brought a happiness back to the importance of education during a dark time in its history.  It's evident to anyone who has casually encountered either one of them, though, that education, happiness, and changing the world are significant passions of theirs.

So why aren't more people listening?

All this fuzzy wuzzy nice stuff seems wonderful, yet we've lost our way in our quest to teach more than possible in the time allotted.  Kids are not invested in what they're learning, so they aren't learning it well -- because why would you possibly want to learn more about something that doesn't interest you?  

Unified Arts Day.

Years ago, our then-middle school had a Unified Arts Club.  The primary focus of the club was a year of fundraising, all to support one amazing day.  The club and its sponsor contracted with local artists, musicians, and thespians to share their passions with every single student in the school.  For one day, kids arranged flowers, decorated cupcakes, learned to tie flies, painted murals, spun angora rabbit hair into yarn, sang, wrote poetry, did improv -- you get the idea.  On UA Day there was very little in the way of behavior issues, and very much in the way of excitement, enthusiasm, and - gasp - FUN.  The mini lessons learned on that day gave a renewed reason for kids to learn specific skills, and an understanding for mathematics, or tech ed or whichever classroom their mental block lived, often lighting a lightbulb above the head of the formerly confused.

It was project-based learning - in a short burst of enthusiasm.

It would be nearly impossible for something like UA Day to exist today.  While the ultimate demise of our UA Day was funding and the economy of a small town, the new regulations requiring nearly $50 worth of clearances for adults to be in an educational setting like that would price many volunteers right out of the system.

 That doesn't mean that the hidden, and not so hidden, talents of our community should be left by the wayside.  The inspiration necessary for our students' success needs a bit of a kick in the pants to rise above the restrictions placed upon our schools to allow the surrounding village to help raise up our children.

In a recent interview with Geekwire, Rainn Wilson shared some profound inspiration:  

"For me, I believed that if we want to make the world a better place, the number one way to do that is through education. If you want to change the economy or if you want to address poverty, you do it through education. If you want to address the environment, really you do it through education. If you want to address any of the social ills that we have in the world, it’s through uplifting and empowering young people that is going to have the maximum impact."

 This week, I'm focusing on Kid President, Rainn Wilson, and Soul Pancake. 

Why?

Because somebody I respect told me to be more awesome.