Driving in to work today I heard something on NPR that I knew instantly I just HAD to share with my students. I actually was able to work it into my plans for my first period and even had them write a reaction to what I shared with them (bonus points for cross-curriculum connections on the new state evaluations!)
It was a commencement speech given at Stanford University. In his speech, Steve Jobs shared 3 stories from his life and explained how they impacted him. One of the stories, a full third of his speech was about taking a calligraphy class in college! He took it on a whim because it seemed interesting. He had not idea that that one art class "come back to him" ten years later as he made the decisions about the graphics, fonts, spacing, and user interface that would become the first Macintosh computer. Jobs jokingly states in his speech that "windows just copied Mac," so the art class that influenced the creation of the Mac is, according to Jobs also responsible for the look of all computers in use today! He talks about connecting the dots in your life and that you won't know how the dots connect while you are making the dots.
He talks about choosing the things you are passionate about and trusting that somehow, later in life, the events you choose will come together and fit in place. I challenged my students to see their decisions as dots that can lead them to a future that they might night expect, to take the opportunity to have a unique experience, but also to see the value in a class like art, something that many of them only took to fill a graduation requirement. You never know where today's dots may take you, so get the most out of each new experience.
Thanks, Steve, for the uplifting message which I am so excited to share with my students. Thank you for daring to dream and for placing an importance on the type of creativity that standardize tests can't account for.
Here is the You tube link that I used for the speech. It is only 15 minutes. Watch it, you will be glad you did!