Ideas for Elementary Schools
A few thoughts on what I would have liked to have seen more of in my time in grade school.
1. Community Partnerships with Outside Organizations
Seeing a public/private partnership with elementary schools and local businesses would be awesome. For example, a local school could partner with a martial arts gym where the kids at the school get a heavy discount. This would introduce an influx of new customers to the business while promoting a healthy community engagement within the school. Economics would have to make sense, but there may be a good balance to help both parties.
This could apply to several businesses in the area. It would be awesome if schools had a liaison between the community businesses and the school, a sort of head of strategic partnerships for the school.
2. More Guest Instruction
I enjoyed the time when a parent of a classmate of mine came in and gave insight into what they did professionally. Some parents had jobs I had never heard of at the time. This opened my mind to more possibilities of things that I could do when I grow up.
It would be fun to bring a firefighter one day, a software engineer the next month, and then a nurse the next quarter to give a short presentation about what they do and how they like it—introducing kids to as many possibilities as possible at a young age.
3. Reading challenges that aren’t lame
In elementary school, I remember we had reading challenges where we would fill out logs and get our parents to sign the logs of our reading time for a grade. This is not the best verification system based on my experience. It seems more broadly that anytime the verification system is opaque, the targeted action is not optimized.
It would be fun to see a verification mechanism with reading challenges where the teacher asks a few interesting questions about a reading, and students go on the hunt to find those answers. If it takes them 30 minutes, that’s great. If more or less, that’s fine. This way, the metric is not time spent but rather understanding of the material.
4. Local Master Classes
Bring a community member who is good at a particular craft and ask them to host a 1-3 day event about their craft. It could be typing, writing screenplays, or playing basketball.
The idea here is to expand students' minds and plant seeds for things they can do with thier time outside of school.