Capturing (and Releasing) the Future…Now

Y’all. You must watch this.

I listened to this while I was running this week, and I am stymied. For several reasons…

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent member of this planet who is generally aware of what is going on around me. And I am not aware of any of these things.

This man is easily the most intelligent person I’ve ever heard speak.

The amazing things that this man is speaking of are happening or in the works NOW. Not in the future. NOW.

I am currently attempting to prepare children for a future that is unfathomable, and here I am not able to fathom things that are happening TODAY.

I am trying to envision Elon Musk in elementary school. I am flabbergasted at what it looks like.

And then I think about a couple of things that happened this week.

I *finally* put my Observe Me sign up outside my door. I actually wrote it with my students. I wanted them to see what I was working on and enlist their help in reaching my goals. I am working on tighter classroom management and making learning experiences meaningful and engaging.

(This one is not mine, but it is the one from @LauraGteachesNC and what inspired mine. I forgot to take a photo of mine.)

After I wrote my Observe Me card, my students did a bit of reflecting themselves and filled out their own Observe Me card. We posted them on their cubbies so that their goals will stare them in the face every day and so that others can help hold us accountable.

It was lovely. Except…

At one point, one of my high-achieving students came to me with her goal. It was basically that she wanted to get better at focusing instead of daydreaming when I was talking about something that she already knew.

I was bummed. I told her that I didn’t think that was a good use of her time. I’d rather her time be used learning NEW things that challenged her, instead of having to force herself to listen to something that was boring.

She (and a few others) are my Elon Musk. How do I keep her (and them) challenged so that she (and they) can focus on moving forward instead of on attending to something that she has already mastered? How do we encourage students to think beyond our classroom walls so that they can truly be ready to face whatever it is out there?

I know… Genius Hour. PBL.

I know all those things, but I struggle with putting them into context in my fourth grade classroom meaningfully. I can do Genius Hour every week (or part of every day), but how can I challenge the students meaningfully in a standards-based way? (I know that Genius Hour can meet many standards, but I’m thinking of how to hit my content area standards beyond the language arts ones that you can hit with just about anything.)

I’ve been trying to pare down the things I ask of my students to those that are most meaningful. How do I meaningfully integrate all aspects of our curriculum into the most relevant and engaging bits? While giving them the time to build and create things that are inspiring in their world?

I’m not doing the best job…clearly.

I’ve tried handing the standards over to the students and had them create the project/product/process to meet them. It went pretty well. Perhaps I’m not doing that enough.

I’m truly interested in ideas here. Who feels like they are managing this successfully (for themselves and their students)? How are you doing it? What steps should I try?



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