#TEDxWOHS Reflections

Well, the school year is over, and so is the TEDxWOHS project (or maybe it was more of an experiment?).

Whatever I title it, I will call it a huge success. My students really crushed this project. Their presentations were so cool, and powerful.

If you’ll remember, I started this presentation with my students when my 1st period class couldn’t answer the question “What subjects/topics do you want to learn about?” When they couldn’t answer that question, I set out to give them a project in which they could answer the question “What matters to me?” It’s so cool to see how far they’ve come since then. Many of the students included that same thing in their presentation. A recurring theme of many of them was “When Mr. Shreffler asked us that, I really didn’t know, but now…”

And their answers to that question varied so much! Sure, some of them just listed 10 or 15 things they liked, and that wasn’t what they were supposed to do, but I’m choosing to focus on the positives.

More than a few of my students focused on a sport they were passionate about, like Greyson who talked about his passion for soccer:

Other students found them focusing on more serious topics. Hannah, for example, focused on her desire to end animal cruelty, and all it needed was some Sarah McLachlan music behind it:

Then there were students who found ways to show their personalities, and their humor. Katie, for example, used her 5 minutes to prove why dogs are better than cats:

This blog just isn’t big enough for me to sit here and post links to every one of the amazing presentations. There are just too many of them. Like Aliyah (who’s timing is perfect), Shoaib (who tackled judging people based on race and beliefs), Kristin (whose research into privacy is both fascinating and frightening), Faiyaz (who will have you laughing the whole time), and Jennifer (who talked about depression with such passion you will want to cry).

There are so many more too. I encourage you to take the time to visit the TEDxWOHS YouTube Channel and watch some of their presentation. If you feel so inclined, comment on them. Truly, these kids did a phenomenal job, and if even only 10% of them mean a word they said, at least some learned something about themselves!

I want to end with a thank you to all my students. You all let me take my crazy idea and give it a try. You let me ramble on all year about superheroes, random science topics, my love of food and TV, and whatever else you all made pop into my head. You went with me when I said “Let’s do something different.” You answered enough Evidence Based Questions, and you used “evidence from the text” enough to hear my voice in your sleep. You made my year awesome, one of, if not the best, year of my teaching career. So thank you. A thousand times, thank you. All I can hope is that you learned something from me along the way.