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Inspiration for Graduates

This is actually a reblog of a reblog! No matter what happens, graduation season rolls around every year. I always liked to send my students off by loading them up with as many memories and inspirational motivation as possible, so here are some of my favorites.

As graduation season rolls around once again, I thought I would compile a list of videos that I’ve found over the years that eloquently describe the hopes and dreams I have for my students in the future. I’ve placed the length of each video beside it.  Not all of these are graduation speeches, but they all give one or more of the following messages: Be Kind, Work Hard, and Make the Most of Your Time and Abilities.  Most of these videos (and many more) can be found on my “Inspirational Videos for Students” Pinterest Board.  As always, please preview any video before you show it to your students.

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Making It from StoryCorps (2:43)

If You’ve Never Failed, You’ve Never Lived (1:16)

Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Award Speech (4:40), Ashton Kutcher on his Teen Choice Speech (3:15) – better for older students

The Time You Have in Jellybeans (2:44)

212: The Extra Degree Inspirational Movie (2:59)

Kid President Graduation Speech (4:12)

The Real Purpose of Your Life (2:18)

These last two are my all-time favorite videos to show departing students:

Jeff Bezos at Princeton (18:44 – his part starts around 6:27)

Mark Bezos: A Life Lesson from a Volunteer Firefighter (4:40)

For more resources, Amy Borovoy curated a wonderful list last May for Edutopia. You can find it here.

Fabulous Flash Mobs

I don’t expect a lot of people will be reading the blog this week, so I thought I would just post some of the inspiring Tweets, videos, and random pics I’ve collected recently Monday through Wednesday. Thursday will be my last Gifts for the Gifted post for 2020.

I absolutely adore this magnificent thread from @CelesteHeadlee that contains some of the best flash mobs ever. Treat yourself to watching these performances from a different time – when we nonchalantly walked through crowds of people and sometimes they broke out into song.

Sapphire the Fairy

I don’t expect a lot of people will be reading the blog this week, so I thought I would just post some of the inspiring Tweets, videos, and random pics I’ve collected recently today through Wednesday. Thursday will be my last Gifts for the Gifted post for 2020.

This Twitter thread from @saysthefox at the beginning of December about someone who found a way to delight a 4-year-old stranger, and created a new friendship along with an imaginary world completely enchanted me. I hope you will find it as heartwarming as I did. (Click on the Tweet to open Twitter and be sure to read the whole thread!)

The Magic of Chess

“Old people shouldn’t be forced to learn chess, but if they want to learn chess surely they can!  They’re allowed to,” a young girl assures the interviewer in The Magic of Chess.

“Even though they could be doing something else – like playing Legos,” the young boy next to her adds.

This adorable short film featured on Vimeo will inspire any young student (and maybe some old people) to try the game of chess.  The filmmaker, Jenny Schweitzer Bell, captured the many positive aspects of playing chess by interviewing boys and girls at the 2019 Elementary Chess Championship.  The children tout the problem solving skills they have learned, and growth mindset is a constant theme.  Their passion for the game is truly inspiring!

I am adding this delightful video to my Inspirational Videos Pinterest Board.

The Magic of Chess from Jenny Schweitzer Bell on Vimeo.

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Image by Ally Laws from Pixabay

Thursday Appointment

Thursday Appointment is an Iranian short film by a 20 year old director that won an award at the Luxor Film Festival.  Though many of us may not understand the language, we can certainly comprehend the messages of kindness and forgiveness.  I am adding this to my Inspirational Videos for Students Pinterest Board.  Once you’ve watched it, you may want to click here to better understand the tradition that makes this film so beautiful.  This could also lead to a classroom discussion regarding customs in different cultures. I am including the original and a dubbed version here.

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Here’s to the Lives That You’re Gonna Change

It’s the season of graduations, and Jason Mraz just released the perfect song to accompany every single one of them.  I played it yesterday as my 4th graders were working on mandalas, and they left the classroom singing the chorus in unison on the way to lunch.

The song, “Have it All,” is one of those catchy tunes that you don’t have to be a music producer to predict will be an instant hit.  It will lift your heart even more when you watch the video.  Students from Binford Middle School in Richmond, VA, (where Mraz has mentored since last year) appear in segments of this uplifting short film. The custodian gets a starring role, too!

Jason Mraz is a master of lyrics, and your students may enjoy analyzing such lines as, “May you be as fascinating as the slap bracelet.”  My favorite is the one I used to title this blog post.

For more inspiration for the students who are embarking on new chapters in their lives, you may want to check out this collection of videos I posted last year.  I also have a list of books that make great graduation gifts.

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