Dreaming with Eyes Wide Open

400 Minutes a day. What are you doing with this time? More importantly, what are our students doing?

WOW! This quote is where Empower by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani sucked me in.

Let that sink in and play that question over and over in your head as you go through the day.

What are students doing that is going to create an impact on the rest of their life, because every second, every minute, and every day pushes students further into the great wide open world?

Recently, I was at a conference, and I had the privilege of listening to two different presentations where educators were not only dreaming with their eyes wide open but passing that trait onto their students.

Fredi Lajvardi did not let fear of limitations or as he mentioned, “one hand tied behind his back” from helping his students achieve the impossible in creating an underwater robot that surpassed all hopes and led to beating MIT in a competition.  These kids from improbable circumstances achieved the impossible.

The other presentation that captured my heart and seemed to hit home the idea of dreaming with your eyes wide open, is that of a group of students led by a teacher in the nearby school district of Festus, MO.  They have been creating rockets and competing on a national scale.  As I listened to the students speak of what they have been doing (the teacher sat back and let them shine), I was thinking of the teacher behind those wonderfully smart and inspired students.  As with the Fredi Lajavardi, he was behind these students making the most of the minutes. Both of these educators refused to say no and did not spend time wishing the year away.  Instead, they were using every minute with these students to make a lasting impact!

I tell people I’m too stupid to know what’s impossible. I have ridiculously large dreams, and half the time they come true. -Debi Thomas, American Athlete

If students’ dreams come true even half the time, isn’t that worth it? Even if the other half does not come true, there are lessons they are learning from those failures that could result in future success in character and life!

Too often in education, we are running the race of getting through the required material and curriculum. Many times using the same “track” or lesson plans despite the ever-changing world around us. Why do we continue to do this? What would happen if we opened our eyes and ears, listened to our kids, and heard what drives them? Ask, “What lights their fire?”

Find out what your kids speak, then speak THEIR language.- Adam Welcome

“400 minutes a day,” what will we do with them this year? How will we impact the students in our classrooms or schools? I challenge us to dream with our eyes wide open and hopefully pass that challenge onto our students.  Make the most of every minute, every day.



Here are the stories of the students and their wonderful teachers from this post.

“Spare Parts” Teacher, Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron 

Festus Rocket Club

Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning


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