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World domination plans

August 18, 2011

I am determined to help my freshmen realize this simple idea:

You can change the world, starting now.

Last year, I had two moderate successes with a student starting a space balloon club, and another student implementing a math circle/science club for a local charter school.

My students are stressed—they aren’t yet crazy stressed like some upperclassmen, but I’ve already head the words “college” and “good grades” as their goals far more than I would like. I fiercely believe that if my students can look past these to external motivators that society forces on them from almost the moment they enter middle school, I think my students can discover a deep interest and a love of learning. I think they harness this interest to find a meaningful project that will truly ignite and intellectual conflagration within them, and propel them to make a difference in the world, far sooner than they might imagine, and they can start down this path today. And if they do follow this path, they will see better grades and more college success than they could possibly imagine.

But what do I know? I’m just some old guy who once worked as a college counselor and likes to hear himself talk all high and mighty about this stuff, but when I was in high school, I was more competitive, grade-focused and fixed mindset than any student I’ve ever taught.

So this year, I’m trying to present these ideas in a slightly different way, with a bit of humor, and a lot more dialogue. Inspired by Chris Guillebeau’s excellent Brief Guide to World Domination, I’m going to encourage my students to develop their own plans for World Domination, and it starts by filling out this get to know you sheet World Domination Plan.

View this document on Scribd

This is a slight tweak from the form I had students fill out last year, particularly in that I’m asking students to tell me what the first step is in implementing their plan. I intend to follow up on these throughout the year, and will post updates from time to time.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2011 8:21 am

    This very cool…i’m definitely going to add some similar questions to my beginning-of-the-year survey.

    If this is not your final draft, you should know that there’s a typo in the first paragraph: you wrote “your graduate.”

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • August 20, 2011 8:56 pm

      Mark,
      Thanks—the responses from the kids were pretty good. It’s also surprising to me how many students simply “want to make the world a better place” and their next step is to wait until they get older and can make a difference.

    • August 20, 2011 8:59 pm

      Alex,
      That’s great—I hope this works well. Has your wife also seen the video describing The Independent Project? I think that was done with at-risk students, and the results were amazing.

  2. August 23, 2011 9:47 pm

    I like this exercise. I really like the idea of encouraging kids to change the world now… not wait until they are adults. Would be cool to have a “library” of kids who changed the world (e.g, Three Cups of Tea kid… name escapes me at moment). I think showing kids models of kids changing the world would be very powerful. Maybe your culture hackers could look into it?!

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