Everybody love Starbucks! They are a staple on every corner and are as hip as can be for all ages. Don’t believe me? Just ask a grade 2 student if they could have any hot chocolate cup on their desk what it would be. But we also love Starbucks because of the array of choices it provides. They have a beverage, or even a snack, for any craving one may have. According to Google, Starbucks offers north of 87,000 possible drinks. Thank goodness they organize their menu or it would be like a movie night back in the day when you went to a video store – perusing for what seemed like for hours through endless rows. Thankfully Starbucks menus guide you to make decisions easier and you almost always know what type of a drink you are going in there for. Maybe you don’t know the exact drink but you have an idea growing in your mind of what you want to satisfy your current need.
Why can’t our classrooms do that? Why can’t we have a menu, and then an order form for the kids that give choice and autonomy? A menu, which is full of the big ideas, that matches the grade curriculums and then an order form, which will personalize the learning. These order forms are the first things the students will fill out upon arriving to class. We can. It’s a mindset. If we take that scary step away from normality to create a classroom of choice, then the students will follow suit and take a chance in learning outside the traditional box.
I read an article that highlighted fifty famous people who never graduated high school. You can read the article here. After seeing names on the list which includes some of the greatest American Presidents and some of the most current inspirational trend setters, it got me thinking about our current school systems. My conclusion was two-fold. Firstly, we are stuck running a system that doesn’t necessarily match the world we live in. And secondly, these individuals were driven by much more than what school offered them. George Corous, in his book “The Innovators Mindset” makes an amazing point that may be the fault at hand, “If students leave schools less curious than when they started, we failed them.” These individuals had that inner drive, which Daniel Pink talks about, to overcome the education system, but not everybody has that fortitude. We need to change. In other words, we need to address our own static, archaic practice so kids can fully learn AT SCHOOL.
I can give a guarantee that a Starbucks style classroom feeds the inquisitive mind while setting up a culture of future world changers. Students will be passionate, explore things of relevance and intrigue, examine and attempt to rectify real-world issues, gain hands-on experience and walk around the community exposing the brilliance of their classroom like a Starbucks red holiday cup! Your classroom will be the trendy place to be and the kids will flourish in both todays class and tomorrows marketplace. Why can’t we give the classroom and the learning back to the kids? We can, for as our Prime Minister reminded us, it is 2015. Run a Starbucks classroom and our children will thank us a latte!
Please click on the attachment below to see the CLASSROOM ORDER FORM that I will use in my room. I would love to hear thoughts and possible changes you may add.