Be Inspired

Some people have days when they are truly inspired by the power of a group of people, an individual or simply an idea. This week I was blown away by all three of those things and it felt great.

The group that inspired me was through an idea that a teacher had a while back and brought it to fruition today with his students. In our building we talk a great deal about innovation and making learning better for our students. Matt Langes, a 7th grade science and social science teacher had an idea of letting his student be innovative for a day. The students would come to their core classes and learn whatever they wanted to for a whole day. He discussed with his team and they planned their “innovative day”. Of course, the initial thought would be that this is crazy and 7th graders could not possible by productive in such an environment. The students were given the task of finding something they were interested in learning with minimal teacher guidance and create something by the end of the day. Personally, I witnessed these kids working and it was inspiring. There were video diaries, diet coke and Mentos labs, ballet routines, infomercials, various Photostories, and even a scale model of our school. Over 100 students were engaged and motivated throughout the day because they were in complete control of their learning and harnessed the power of choice.

The individual that I found inspiring this week was my son’s preschool teacher. Once a month his school invites parents into the classroom to see what goes on and take part in their learning activities. That right there to me is such a huge step that many schools are not taking in terms of parent involvement. I felt a part of his class and his learning, which is something I doubt many parents outside of preschool can say. In addition, I observed his teacher interacting with each child and parent with such genuine sincerity and compassion that should be something all teachers should aspire to.

My final piece of inspiration came from my computer club students today during our daily meeting. I have a handful of 8th grade students that work with me to create a bi-weekly news show for our school. Today I showed them the Magnolia High School lip dub that was created to the Katy Perry Firework song. After watching it they were going completely nuts and wanted to create one. Within just a few short minutes songs were being tossed out and an outline of a movie idea was being put together. They were so touched by that movie that they want to create their own and get the whole school involved. I immediately shared their enthusiasm with principal that said she got “goose bumps” just thinking about it. We then got some other teachers on board with the idea and will being reaching out to the student body shortly. Next week we will begin what will surely be a long and yet very rewarding project that all started with a simple idea in my class room this afternoon. Given the determination of this group, I am sure in the coming weeks I will have something great to share with you all!

As I sit here, I think to myself, “it doesn’t get much better than this!”


Kim said...

What an amazing week! The video by Magnolia was awesome, no wonder your kids are excited! Can't wait to see what you guys come up with! Best wishes on your project!

Fernando said...

I'm an English tracher in Brasil.
Thanks to share, difficult not to be inspired watching the MHS video.
Good luck on your project!

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Kim and Fernando, Thanks for the comments! I am really excited about this project and look forward to sharing it with everyone in the future. It will be a huge undertaking but worth it!

Marty Creech said...

Hello. I teach in NC and have toyed around with Innovation Day idea for some time now. Can you share the teacher info with me I can pick their brains about how they set up this day. I think it is an incredible idea and want my kids to try it out.

Josh Stumpenhorst said...


Shoot me an email stumpteacher@gmail and we can talk. Happy to share what we did.