The new Pixar film has moved viewers young and old to take a look inside their own minds...but perhaps its greatest achievement has been this: It has moved viewers young and old to take a look inside their own minds. As you likely know by now, much of the film takes place in the head of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, with five emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust—embodied by characters who help Riley navigate her world. The film has some deep things to say about the nature of our emotions—which is no coincidence, as the GGSC’s founding faculty director, Dacher Keltner, served as a consultant on the film, helping to make sure that, despite some obvious creative liberties, the film’s fundamental messages about emotion are consistent with scientific research.
Those messages are smartly embedded within Inside Out‘s inventive storytelling and mind-blowing animation; they enrich the film without weighing it down. But they are conveyed strongly enough to provide a foundation for discussion among kids and adults alike. Some of the most memorable scenes in the film double as teachable moments for the classroom or dinner table.
A toddler careening to a halt at an electrical cord, a preschooler screaming at the top of her lungs when her ice cream cone topples, a girl on the brink of puberty who suddenly gets all moody and silent. What exactly is going on in our kids’ brains that governs their moods and responses?
The latest animated Disney Pixar movie Inside Out attempts to get to the bottom of this eternal parenting question. And, in doing so, the screenwriters have created a parenting manual for those of us who are blindly making our way through the parenting landscape, while trying to hold on to our ever-changing children.
A social studies teacher who was near retirement showed up at one of my educational planning sessions for a new classroom building. I asked him about the social studies classroom of the future. At first he hemmed and hawed, but after some prodding, he said, “Do you really want to know what I think?”
Genius Hour is a time given during the school day to allow students to follow their passions and learn about topics that interest them. My gifted 5th graders participate in this project, and present their learning when they are ready. This page is devoted to sharing some of the resources I’ve collected over the past two years with anyone else who is interested in starting a classroom Genius Hour.
Now that you’ve seen the movie (or even if you haven’t), below are 12 ways teachers and parents can help kids extend and apply what they saw in the movie to use as a springboard to teach about the brain, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and life in general.
In his book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, John Gottman describes how parents and teachers can serve as emotion coaches. “Much like athletic coaches, they teach their children [and students] strategies to deal with life’s ups and downs,” said Gottman.
This concept of coaching is key, as it puts our kids – not parents or teachers – at the center. As I watched the movie, I thought of times how tempting it can be to coax the emotion (e.g. trying to pull joy out of an otherwise upsetting circumstance) rather than coach it (honor the emotion and talk about it as Gottman advises).
“Sorry, that’s a great idea, but we can’t build it here.”
That’s my nightmare. A student in the STEAM Room, our student Makerspace, approaching me with a brilliant project concept requiring some reasonable tool we didn’t even consider. Of course, there are worse nightmares involving our reciprocating saw or our drill press, but those scenarios are easier to plan around.
How do you come up with an all-encompassing list of tools and materials that will facilitate every student’s wildest dreams, while staying within budget and within space constraints? How can you avoid stifling creativity when you haven’t even polled your students for their interest areas? How do you know when your Makerspace is complete?
When you’re putting in long hours and working relentlessly towards a purpose that you’re passionate about, burnout is inevitable. Entrepreneurs know this; it’s part of the process, and everyone has their own strategy for coping.
When it’s your employee feeling the burn, on the other hand, you have a critical problem on your hands — and limited time to solve it. You have to take the right steps to assess the situation and determine your role in improving their happiness and job satisfaction.
Seven entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) discuss some tactics they use to alleviate a key employee’s stress when times are tough.
Technology alone can't educate students. It’s not some mystical, magical ingredient one sprinkles over core curricula like salt on a meal. The magic is inside the child. If designed correctly, technology only extends the creative powers of the individual. Technology needn’t be “high-tech” to be effective, either. Chalk on a graphite board is one of the earliest forms of technology in the classroom; a printed book is a kind of machine; a magnifying glass is technology for investigation of the natural world; string is a tool for building things.
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