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Saturday, August 30, 2014

"What Starts Here Changes the World"

Last night Admiral McRaven was ABC's person of the week. I had heard about his speech from numerous friends and colleagues, but had not listened to his words. I also heard that his words had inspired a student I'll have in my class this year greatly. So this morning I listened to his speech--a speech that both inspired me and brought me to tears.

I will share his speech with my young students on the first day of school. Although it will be a stretch for them, I think it will be a good stretch because I'll make the connection that school is an opportunity for them to grow their skill, concepts, and knowledge so they can be the people they want to be.

I'll tell them that McRaven's speech is a metaphor for life. It is one man's story of hard work, dedication, and effort that led to success, and more than that, led to good work and a chance to make our world a better place.

Before we watch, we'll set up our STEAM Inspiration journals, and write McRaven's name on the top of a page. Then I'll encourage students to listen to the speech in ways that they listen best. If they like to draw while they listen, I'll let them draw as Admiral McRaven uses many wonderful visual images in his speech. If they want to write down key words, phrases, or their own thoughts, I'll encourage that too. Further, if they just want to sit and watch, or listen with their heads on the desk, I'll encourage that. I'll tell them that all year, we'll meet wonderful leaders, mentors, and coaches through our biography framework work, and I hope that what we learn will inspire each of us to find our own paths of success in life.

I'll play the video, and then I'll ask student to copy one or more of the following McRaven quotes in their STEAM Inspiration Journals:
  • "If you can't do the little things right, you can't do the big things."
  • "Find someone to help you paddle."
  • "Nothing mattered but your will to succeed."
  • "If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart. . ."
  • "If you want to change the world. . .keep moving forward."
  • "You will fail, you will fail often."
  • "If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moments."
  • "The power of one person. . .one person can change the world by giving people hope."
  • "Respect everyone."
  • "Never ever give up."
Then I'll ask students to reflect and write their thoughts about the quote(s) they chose for 10-15 minutes. After that we'll share our thinking for a few minutes. 

Admiral McRaven's words were meant for a college audience, but I find that when I stretch young children up to higher thoughts and words, they rise and feel empowered. Because McRaven's words spoke strongly to one child I want to reach this year, I will share his words again with all the students as a first day inspiration--an inspiration that will move us all forward towards our best efforts and work this year.

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