Over the last decade or so, I’ve made over 1000 visual writing prompts for my students — and for anyone’s students really — and have gotten to try out most of them with students to see which ones work best for inspiring otherwise-disinclined writers to take pen to paper … or fingers to keys, as it may be. Some work great. Some flop. One in particular, always works great, one entitled "kids these days." The prompt asks students to imagine that they are in their 80s, and their task is to complain about kids these days. The prompt works so well, because kids these days are really good at articulating how they think the older generations (anyone over say, you know 28, because anyone that old is really old in their minds) perceive them.
I write all this to say that they are probably not entirely wrong. There's a perception that kids these days are lazier, less capable, addicted to their screens, etc. You know the drill on this one. And, sure, some are.
But, I've been blown away the last few weeks with three students. Three students who have reassured me that the kids are alright.
These three students, Hadley, Nico, and Quentin, probably deserve a full post each. Hadley is the CEO of a student-run machining business at the high school. She's a senior in high school and running a fully operational business that's turning a profit. Nico, if you've been tuning in at all you'll know, as they are running the transformation of the Agile Learning Lab. Every single day, I learn about some new skill that Nico has because they stayed up late into the night watching YouTube videos about it, whether it's 3d printing, after effects, or even first aid. Quentin is running one of the best Project Based Learning experiences happening at the high school right now. The watershed project is a massive, million dollar, ecology project that he has science classes pitching in to help with.
I want to say a lot more about each of these three, but for now I just want to circle back to my point. Kids these days are really impressive. Even when the adults aren't getting it done in terms of pushing forward innovative education, I am seeing students take the lead to put together some of the best learning experiences I have seen.