Discovering Potential: Act I of the Perfect School Year

What does your perfect year look like?  As you and your students embark on all of your learning adventures, what will be the story of your classroom? How does your journey begin and how do you want it to end? Listen here as we write the perfect script and turn your school-year into a blockbuster movie!

Like any great movie, we need a compelling hero to save the day. Luckily you have the most compelling cast of characters imaginable: your students! The kiddos in your class are the heroes of this story, and we are all rooting for them to succeed! With such a strong supporting cast of friends, family and teachers, there’s nothing these little heroes can’t accomplish as they take on the world! And, as any hero should, your students will face some challenges, but through these challenges, they will learn and grow and eventually save the day!

That first paragraph was the movie trailer. Now that you’ve seen the preview, let’s get into Act I of this future Oscar-Award Winning film, Discovering Potential.

For a full breakdown of these three acts and what they mean (not just buzzwords, I swear!), listen here. 

Dedicate the beginning of your year to helping students discover the joy of learning. Make an awesome first impression and start the year off right. Help your students discover their roles and responsibilities in the classroom, school, and community.  Help kids discover who they are and what they love by exposing them to the world and inspiring passions. And help these little people discover that with hard work and a love of learning, they can all change the world.

Instead of pouring all of your energy into trying to convince a crying students that school “is going to be alright,” kick it up a notch and convince them that school is going to be incredible! With the right tone and enthusiasm, most kids can be convinced that anything is cool enough to give it a shot. And with YouTube and Netflix you literally have the most amazing resources in the world to persuade your students that learning and school are awesome.

In this episode, we go over all the discoveries your students will make in the first part of the year, so they can unlock and unleash their potentials throughout the rest of their lives! Not only will kids discover all that school has to offer, but they will soon discover that learning is all around them! The first part of our curriculum is designed to teach students this hugely important observation!

In the Punk Rock Preschool curriculum, we start the year with units on school, teamwork, & confidence.  These three weeks focus on how our classroom is a team, our roles in that team, and how working together helps us accomplish our goals. Then we jump into community, geography, and culture. Students then discover that learning continues as we expand out from the school and classroom bubble to the community, city, country, and eventually the world — virtually traveling the globe to see all the learning that exists in every corner of the planet! Finally, the next three weeks are about weather, climate, and geology — once again, weather and the earth — things that are everywhere! We are further reinforcing that there is so much left to discover because learning is everywhere!

Then, the following 9 weeks are all dedicated to living things, ecosystems, and the environment. By teaching about the planet and pollution, you are literally talking about changing the world. As a result, kids believe they can do it! And after making this realization and discovering the fullest extent of their potential, they then want to change the world with everything – with their art, ideas, inventions, and more! And in the second half of the year, thats when you give them the direction to use this energy and enthusiasm to make their mark on the world, no matter their ages.

For a full breakdown of the entire year, download our free full year curriculum plan to see how each skill and subject builds on the next!

In the first half of the school year (Act I), kids begin to discover their potential and all the good they can do in the world. In terms of academics, the first half of the year is focused on learning all of the tools, knowledge, and mindsets to  “grow our brains” and “make the world a better place” (such as procedures, class culture, and expectations, as well as letters, sounds, numbers, patterns, etc.). By learning all of this information in Act I, we have the entire second half of the year to practice using this knowledge to read, write, and do math the best we can.  And as you know by now, I don’t argue with philosopher geniuses so if Einstein says practice is the way to go, practice is the way to go!

Kidding aside, I don’t think student should be asked to memorize a string of letters and numbers for a whole year without ever getting to put them to use. By utilizing what they learned and applying it everyday with no pressure (the benefit of being in a pre-k classroom – no pressure!), students can make connections at their own pace. And once they start picking up steam, they will be making connections with every word or price tag they see in the real world! Kids start to put all they learned into context, and that’s when it clicks.

By helping your class discover their potential and all there is to learn, they soon realize they have the key to achieving their dreams and changing the world and it’s all in their brains! Next step, ACT II — using that key to unlock their potential.


Resources and People Mentioned in this Podcast:

Show Notes (w/times):

  • 2:12 – What is your class’ story?
  • 04:00 – Three acts of the school year
  • 5:46 – Mindset Shift
  • 7:48 – Strategies
  • 23:30 – Mapping Your Year With Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • 24:55 – Actionable Next Steps

Thanks so much for joining us this week! Did you think of some important skills I missed? Would you mind sharing in the comments so all the great teachers can use it too!? Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post. Also, please leave an honest review for the Punk Rock Preschool Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful and greatly appreciated and I will read all of them!  If you have any questions or want to learn more, head on over to! And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates!

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