Sunday, April 27, 2014

Learn The Future - videos to inspire

“I go to school the youth to learn the future” 
-Robert Frost

Changing History
Videos to Inspire Part 1:

What Will YOUR History Be?

The definition I provide my students with for the word “history” is “history is just the stories of people”. This may be a bit off for the teachers who passionately love history, but I’m not one of those. My true passion is in reading and writing, and when asked to teach social studies this year, having to give up something I was truly passionate about, I had to consider how I could make this subject meaningful to my students and meaningful to me. It’s been quite an interesting journey and I’ve learned a lot – but there’s much more to learn.

I decided to start the year off with that definition of history and what history meant to my students. After some discussion, I told my students they will be changing history this year by writing their own stories (Yes, dear reader, there were many confused faces).  

Along with that, I asked my students what their legacy will be and how will they be remembered? Pretty daunting questions for anyone, let alone an 11 or 12 year old. As I get older, I wish that a teacher, parent, or someone in my life had asked me those questions. I don’t think we’re ever too young to consider the impact we can have on others – or too old for that matter. As a teacher, one of the most important things I can do for my students is to give them opportunities to understand the impact they can have on each other, their school, and even the world.

We Are All Clark Kents…

My inspiration for this was a series of TED talks by Brad Meltzer.

The first video we watch very early in the year is Write your story, change history - Brad Meltzer’s engaging TED talk about encouraging us to dream big, work hard, and stay humble. I provide the students with key excerpts from the video and stop frequently to discuss these key points. We then create a product to show what their dreams, goals, and aspirations are and what they will do this year to achieve them…my students are beginning to write their history.


To keep the idea of history as stories going, we watch this video from The Emperor’s Club found at ( A great resource for video clips in the classroom).  The clip makes the students think about how will history remember them?  At this point in the year I introduce them to blogging as a tool to reflect and inspire others. I also ask my students to list 101 goals that they have to help them think about what’s out there in the world for them.

What do you want to be forever?

One of the final videos we watched, during Black History Month, related to the subject of Legacy and Our Histories, is another great Tedx Talk by Brad Meltzer called How To Write Your Own Obituary. Despite the “interesting” title, the content of this is extremely powerful- it hits the idea that ordinary people, like you and me, can change the world.  I show the first 11 minutes or so and stop it when Brad asks the audience “How do you want to be remembered?” Can you imagine being told as an eleven year old that you can make an impact on the world?


Students have taken this idea to heart. I want my students to realize that what they do now will affect them later. I couldn't be more proud of what my students are achieving this year and I think one of my students says it best in her recent blog post


Over the last 15 years, I have had the opportunity to watch my students create amazing histories. At the time, I just didn't realize. When we as educators stop to consider the impact we are having on others we can really appreciate our successes.  It’s one of the major reasons I love teaching and helps me to feel the real “success” of teaching. Who knows what history will be written by the 150 awesome kids sitting in front of me this year?

1 comment:

Win Bet said...

You Actually Make It Seem So Easy With Your Presentation But I Find This Matter To Be Actually Something Which I Think I Would Never Understand. It Seems Too Complex And Very Broad For Me. I Am Looking Forward For Your Next Post, I?ll Try To Get The Hang Of It!