Heroes, Leaders, Innovators

Heroes, Leaders, Innovators

super hero

Image Credit: Amanda Tipton

The last book I read was Invent to Learn by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager. One quote really jumped out at me as I was reading. They said this:

“One of the most endearing things about the maker movement is how many children are celebrated as heroes, leaders, and innovators.”

(I apologize, I cannot for the life of me find the page number because of course, I wrote it down on scratch paper instead of highlighting it in my Kindle app.) 

When is the last time you celebrated your students as the heroes, leaders, and innovators of your classroom? I love this idea, and I think it’s because within that simple statement I see three BIG ideas that are so powerful:

1. Celebrating children – we need to continue to take time for the celebrations in our districts. I bet there are a lot of classroom based celebrations, but what opportunities to you provide for:

  • Public celebration? I often see a lot of elementary newsletters going home with celebrations, but where does this happen at the secondary level? And are those made public beyond the newsletter? Do elementary celebrations get put in the local paper? On blogs and the school website? If so, that’s wonderful! If not, how could you publicly celebrate your students’ work this week? This month?
  • Elementary celebration? We often see the high school athletes or honor roll kids recognized. What kind of celebrations do you do for the elementary students like this?
  • Academic celebration? Are your honor roll students and inventors celebrated like your athletes?
  • Celebrating the journey? Are we celebrating the road to success as much as the success? Do you celebrate the kid who tries and tries and tries and finally succeeds? The project that flopped but the class learned a great lesson from? Are you celebrating the innovative ways they do things or still just trying to get them to follow the rules?

2. Children as heroes. Do your students know how important they are to the future? Do they see themselves as bigger than the content or the standards? Do they know that they TRULY can make a difference, regardless of age, gender, family background, ethnicity, or where their talents lie? Do your kids know that they are not just the heroes of tomorrow but the heroes of today? How much we look to them for that sense of wonder, of creativity, of inquisitiveness, of resilience?

3. Children as leaders. Who leads the learning in your classroom? Whose passion drives the work? Children can do amazing things, especially when we get out of the way, right? Children as classroom leaders not only models what that looks like in life in a safe environment, but I think it goes hand in hand with the ideas about passion projects and genius hour. When students can lead they become stronger people, passionate people, and find their voice. When you give them the opportunity to practice leading from a young age, imagine what they’ll be able to do in the future.