I had to laugh at Sagmeister’s wall piece ‘Every single time’ at ‘The Happy Show’ this weekend. Just a couple of days before, I’d been asked to chime in a few ‘what-ifs’ to a leader’s list, with the caveat that these what-ifs are all hypothetical, non-threatening, questions or prompts rather than a to-do list. I agreed with many of Sagmeister’s concepts in this show, and, yes, follow-through is important. But I also love hypotheticals and brainstorms. Maybe the ’empty space in my mind’ is necessary at the hypothetical stage. If we clear out the clutter by sharing our ‘shoulds’ and our ideas, the space all of that clears out might later be occupied with energy towards best practices.
- What if the school-day schedule was based on optimal time for project-based and experiential learning (instead of on clocks)?
- What if time was built into that schedule for educators to collaborate and build connections? (What if collaboration was the expected norm?)
- What if we worked to establish a intentional balance between technology and experiential, applications-based learning?
- What if our school had a vibrant summer program, based in creativity, hands-on experiences, and opportunities for educators to experiment?
- What if we flipped the senior slide into a senior staircase? One that used external resources to build students’ confidence, purpose, and experience towards their next floor or landing?
- What if every senior took on a project that demonstrated:
- Applications of the school’s values;
- Depth of understanding in a subject area that interested him?
- (What if teachers tried out a project model first, in an experimental phase?)
- (What if board members were involved in the presentation/assessment of these projects?)
- What if the junior service groups became small learning communities based on the service experience that met all year long – guided by the seniors – and into the senior year, guiding the next junior groups?
- What if our professional development involved teaching our subject areas to other teachers? Perhaps – to broaden our understanding of our students’ experiences; to identify opportunities for connections/collaborations; to give and receive feedback on the craft of teaching?
- What if all departments contributed to college/career readiness by sharing/presenting opportunities stemming from their areas of focus? (re-inventing ‘career day’)
- What if we let go of any assumption that college is the best immediate track for every student?