As a child who loved a challenge, I set out to find a solution…. Secretly of course! I started gathering dried out pens and when I had a small collection, I locked myself in the bathroom with my dried up pens, a bowl, paper and all of the cleaning products you would expect to find in a bathroom, like soap (bar and liquid), Windex, furniture polish, toilet bowl cleaner, Epsom salt, Pine-sol, tile cleaner, and more. I initially thought one of these would be a "miracle solution" for dried ink and dipped the pen in each solution and tried to write on the paper to see if the pen was working again. On occasion, the pen would work, but eventually I realized it was probably just cleaning the pen tip, allowing the ink to flow freely again and that the pen wasn't actually dried out. So then I started combining different solutions and testing them. I see now how incredibly dangerous this was, but at the time, I thought I was a true child prodigy!
I think the whole point of this story is that students need to be given an opportunity to explore, to build their own knowledge, to critically think about and potentially solve problems and to see the relevance of what they are doing every day they enter the doors of the school. As a teacher, I tried every day to help students make a connection between the content and their lives and while I certainly don't believe that I actually succeeded every single day, I do believe that my students left my course with an appreciation of the skills that they had developed as a result of opportunities being embedded in daily instruction. We need to focus on personalizing learning for every single student we come in contact with. If nothing else, at least ask them questions that will promote their thinking and lead them into a state of innovation!
"Our task is to educate their whole being so that they can face their future. By the way, we may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it." ~ Sir Ken Robinson