So for the past week and a half, my students have been in the brainstorm phase. Allowing them to work totally on their own, free of strict guidlines has been a challenge. It is not how we are used to working and so they have needed extra time and a little more motivation. This project has been a major paradigm shift for some of my students and this level of autonomony sometimes makes them uncomfortable, to the point of almost quiting. But, we are making progress. Belo w are some of the fruits of their labor:
4 - Quality Education
- Thinking Homies - a peer-to-peer mentor group that focuses on social emotional of "average" students. Students feel that attention is placed to often on high achieveing students, such as AP, Honors, or IB kids. They would like to see attention placed on the average kids who have potential to be greater. They feel that their personal barriers are not relaeted to school and sometime include gang violence, drugs, or other distractions. If they had an older mentor who can relate to them on several personal levels, then maybe they would have the motivation to be more successful. This idea is being flushed out still. Some models include Big Sister or Big Brother.
- Teacher Trainings - students feel like some teachers forghet to build relationship with them. They would like to help host in-services that focus on ways to strengthen relationships with students.
- Advocating for Public Schools - students feel as though there are not enough public school options availible for families. Students want to investigate ways they can be community advocates for the building of public schools.
6 - Clean Water
- Water Testing - students want to acquire free water testing kits and share with their neighbors. Students - of the belief that knowledge is power - want to then investigate ways they can use the data to advocate for clean water in their community.
- WaterNet - students are working on a protopye for a type of net that would be placed in certain regions (i.e. at the base of a mountain, in river...) to catch rain and ice runoff. This net would filter out most contaminents then the water would be sent to a treatment facility for futher decontamination.
7 - Clean Energy
- The Shoe - students are toying with the idea of creating a shoe that creates and stores kinetic or solar energy for later use.
11 - Sustainable Cities & Communities
- Homlessness in Los Angeles - Students want to shine a light on students who are coping with homlessness. They feel as though the narratives need to change about who is homless. Often times students are and no one has any idea. They want to create an online hub to share resources that might help. Then they want to use social media to share personal stories.
16 - Peace & Justice
- Gang Violence - Students feel like gang violence is a major issue in our community, as well as police brutality and gun violence in schools. They want to use restorative justice practices to help bridge dialogue gaps bewtween people affected by gun violence or perpetrators of gun violence.
- Stereotypes - students feel like racial profiling and police brutality are a major issue in the community. Part of the problem they feel is racial stereotypes and profiling. As youth, they feel one solution is to change personal habits when it comes to use of derogatory language. Next, they would like to create a YouTube series that analyzes popluar teen shows' use of such language and suggest alternatives to these shows.
My hope is that they find a way to make their ideas come to fruition, no matter how large or how small. Each poroject gets us one step closer to 2030!