“How else could we help her get the ball in the basket without doing it for her?” Mrs. Holder asked.
One of her students piped up right away.
“Backhand,” he said, and Mrs. Holder followed up. “Yes, we could try throwing it a different way. What other ideas do you have?”
The room was silent; students were pondering. The basket still stood twenty feet away and the student who had volunteered for the activity still stood before it.
“Did I give you any other rules?” Mrs. Holder asked, prompting them to think. “I just said the goal was to get it into the basket, right?”
They talked about the fact that individual wishes—me wishes, or genie wishes—as we called them, might make a huge difference to one person, but they would make an even larger difference if we figured out the core of what a wisher wanted and found a way to share it with others. In other words, instead of granting the wish to “have an exciting first period,” by giving donuts, or facilitating a serenade, or planning a crazy staged event for just that one individual student, what would happen if we facilitated a break in the monotony of everyday life for everyone? Would granting that student’s wish, on a larger scale, tip the scales of life for the whole school?
September 2, 2022
“Would a field trip to a ninja gym satisfy your wish?” I asked, unable to take it anymore.
Heads turned toward me, the random lady in the back. I saw a few faces light up, and a few eyebrows furled, presumably wondering if it was a joke. Then one of the field trip wishers looked me square in the eye and offered an emphatic “yes.”
In LABS, a collaborative course that combines IB Language & Literature and IB Cultural Anthropology, Sean Martin and Linda Carmichael turn societal programming upside down.
This is the first year for LABS, and Martin and Carmichael initiated the school year by inviting students to share “someday wishes,” an idea spawned from the article “Letting Student Voice Lead the Way,” in ASCD.
It’s pretty powerful to watch a group like that, to witness their journey to grow into themselves, especially after COVID. It doesn’t always happen for every class. Bells come quickly, distance feels safe, the business of knowing keeps pounding on the door with pressing matters that tend to get in the way, so when a group of strangers actually choose to mix and bond, to stop and giggle, to wonder and wander and share, while it can look a bit chaotic, or feel a little scary, the truth is, it’s also a recipe for magic.