Week 1: Thoughts and Reflections

Our students are seeing major events taking place around them and many of them are led to believe that they do not have a voice and that change is not always possible; however, that could not be further from the truth. As such, I am excited about the possibility of helping students find their voices and having them work with their peers to come up with new ideas and solutions. I also think it is important that the focus is on social good as a whole as opposed to being focused on the individual because this helps students see that they have an important role in society and that their actions can impact more than just themselves. It also helps students see themselves as global citizens.
I am so excited to see what my students come up with and to watch them take the lead in issues they are concerned with and that impact their communities. My main concern is having students work together in teams. I think this is an important skill for students to learn, but I know from previous experience that not all of my students do well in groups. However, it just means that I will need to dedicate more time to building relationships and to helping students work together for a shared goal.
While I absolutely love the idea of having students choose their own SDG to focus on, every year, my school site chooses one topic or theme for a school-wide PBL. Therefore, it would probably be best to select one specific SDG for students. With that said, it is also possible that instead of having teachers simply select the SDG that matches the school-wide topic, we could ask students to find the SDG that they feel best matches the topic/theme and explain their reasoning. This way students have more of a voice from the very beginning and also get an opportunity to explore the SDGs in the process.

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Hi Alice. I agree with you about the importance of helping students find their voices, see themselves as change makers, and as global citizens. I, too, think that students will find hope in finding solutions and connecting to a purpose larger than themselves. I also appreciate your idea at the end of allowing students to select the SDG that they feel best matches the school year’s theme and to explain their reasoning. Right from the start, then, you are affirming the students’ points of view, their own creativity, and the possibility they bring to the project. You are engaging them on a deep level. Thanks for sharing.
~MaryBeth Molina

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I love your interest in giving students voice. That is so important, and so many students truly don’t feel they have a voice or an ability to enact change in the world. I like your final idea of having the students choose the SDG that they feel best matches the topic/theme and explain their reasoning. I think that in order to give student voice they need to be able to practice using their voice, and that seems like a good first step.

Teams can be so very challenging! There are so many skills necessary for just working in a team that I imagine much time will be spent on learning how to do that. Though, I do think that those skills are as important as anything else… Good luck!!

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I like the representation of black and brown students in the innovator’s guide. It is very important that they see people who look like them represented.

I live the design thinking explanation, it breaks down concepts well.

I wonder if there’s a reason that the design thinking process was shortened here? And if there was a consideration of equity centered design thinking? (which centers those who are marginalized and/or most affected, which also posits are closest to the solution.)

I wish there was more about heart work and individual development and how it accelerates impact and maximises it.

I wish there were an opportunity for innovators to develop their leadership skills by prompting and leading efforts. How would agreements, approach, and gleanings look different?

Some great feedback and suggestions!

Thank you! When we were creating the “Pactful Kids,” we were trying to create characters that would resonate with kids and do the very thing you’re suggestion: hoping they could see themselves. That’s critical to our efforts to improve the rates of innovation particularly for those who have been historically underrepresented.

Yes, we shortened the number of design thinking phases intentionally for our audience, though you will find all the essential elements encapsulated into the three phases we chose, plus we added the pitch.

It’s an excellent suggestion and one that recently arose from some work we were doing with some others in the design thinking field. I can absolutely see us making revisions over time to include these important elements.

Another good suggestion.

We definitely heard from educators who used Pactful this past year that these leadership opportunities emerged for the teams as they worked through their project. There may be other ideas to consider including in the curriculum over time.