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Community Manager at Edutopia

I don't want to take us too

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I don't want to take us too far off topic, but this is something I used to say all the time, to both high school students and adults alike:

You've got to find what resonates for you. It doesn't matter what, but find something that you care about and then find a way to make it a part of your life. Make a difference around that one thing, no matter how small.

To bring us back on topic, I can see how awe can be one way to help students find the thing that resonates for them.

co-founder I am Bullyproof Music

Samer.. WOW. As a mom, I have

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Samer.. WOW.

As a mom, I have witnessed "awe" move mountains.
My youngest son was that boy who knew everything. He thought in black and white. It worried me-- but I could never get through. Then, one day, he was just standing on the beach looking out at the vast ocean, and he says he "got it." All of a sudden, Mr. "I don't budge" transformed into "Mr. I want to work for a non profit and help change the world!" He is currently down in Chile teaching poor children. He majored in international studies.His empathy for others is astounding.

My oldest attended Berkeley, and cruised through academics while half asleep. He walks everywhere and just smells the roses. He's not an "A" personality at all. But when Occupy began?

He lives in New York. After work, he'd go down to the park, and quietly just "be there." My quiet and conservative natured son called me and said "Mom, it's really something." He was very moved by the fact that so many were truly trying to make a stand. He would call me and say "You should see how many people there are!" I could hear it in his voice -- the change.

In this world of plastic surgery and Snooky, it's more and more up to teachers to head kids back in the direction of what life is all about. I really love what you've shared here. It's awesome :-)

Director, Education Division, Creativity & Associates

Daniel Pink, in his book A

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Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, talks about the research on the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Awe is a great way to tap into the intrinsic motivation that keeps all of us engaged in activities more deeply. I find that using process drama is also a great way to motivate students intrinsically, especially when they can determine their individual paths.

Intrinsic motivation works on creating the desire and curiosity in students needed to work through complex critical thinking. Pretending to be someone else who has the skills already is a great way to do that. If your students are studying water, the class could all become scientists and research/present their ideas on how to solve the problem. The teacher provides the information and the students find the path that they think will work best by pretending they are already scientists.

Here's a link to the Kennedy Center's ARTSEDGE website on process drama for more information: http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/how-to/from-theory-to-pract...

Principal, East Leyden High School

At East Leyden High School,

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At East Leyden High School, we lay out a very simple vision for our students - to be kind, find your passion, and commit to excellence. In focusing on finding their passion we believe purpose often comes through. For instance, we just had a sophomore student who was asked to solve a problem in Science class to explore the scientific method. The problem he identified was bullying. He went on to organize a creative writing/open mic event where students responded to prompts that he chose, wrote short pieces of poetry, and then shared them. There were over 50 students who attended this event and it was remarkable to see it come to life knowing it has grown from one student's idea in Science class.

There is not doubting the power of purpose, especially when combined with passion.

Community Manager at Edutopia

I've been extremely fortunate

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I've been extremely fortunate in having worked with hundreds of high school students over the years who were passionate about human rights. They were members of Amnesty International student chapters, and those students were some of the best advocates. They wrote letters, contacted government officials, and held rallies and protests. All the while, they learned about geography, political science, economics, sociology, world history, even a bit of world languages.

And best of all is when they succeeded. When a prisoner of conscience was released due in no small part to the efforts of these high school students. How's that for meaningful purpose? For awe? To attend a conference and hear the person you helped free from prison speak.

6th grade Scienee & Literacy teacher from Iowa

Creating meaningfulness is

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Creating meaningfulness is something I am determine to master as a teacher. I want my students to realize that they have a voice for everything and one person can make a difference. I think that connection they feel between themselves and the topic can enhance their learning and help them to become more active learners. Great post.. can't wait to use some of the helpful tips in class!

The video of Curiosity

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The video of Curiosity landing on Mars seemed to work for some of my students in a STEM robotics course. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.php?id=1090

"Awe"

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I find it challenging to get students to that "awe" moment. It does seem to work better when doing a hands on activity or inquiry-based activity. It tends to help some students when given an activity that has real-world connections.

I think creating

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I think creating meaningfulness is a must. Students often do not have the background or interest to be able to find what you are teaching meaningful. I really like your idea of setting the "awe" tone in the beginning of the unit to catch the interest and keep it.

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