It’s Future Day!

Today I smiled all day.  It’s the 30th anniversary of the day Marty McFly goes to the future – October 21, 2015.  I woke up excited and knew I would have to share the love I have for the Back to the Future trilogy with my students!

future dayI started by adding some fun images from the movie on my welcome screen and played “Back in Time” by Huey Lewis and the News as the kids walked in.  While some kids made the connection right away (obviously those kids have good parents who educate them by watching great movies), everyone  jumped on board with their own excitement.  It was contagious.

For morning work, I passed out drawing paper with the assignment to draw what they thought the world would be like in 30 years.  They loved it!

Because of their excitement, I decided to go with it and turn this half day into a true Future Day!  By the time my kids got back from library, I was ready with movie clips and a relevant writing assignment:  What do you think life will be like 30 years from now?

We started out by watching some movie clips of when Marty first sees his own city, Hill Valley 30 years into the future.

Next, we jotted down ideas in words on a graphic organizer where students could predict what food, travel, fashion, homes and entertainment will be like in 2045.  (You can upload this document: Future ideas and use it in your classroom too!)  Finally we started to look at what our writing assignment would be.

Following my favorite BME Rule, the students watched me model in turn a beginning introductory paragraph, a middle paragraph with details taken from my idea sheet and an ending paragraph.  After each modelling session, the kids wrote their paragraphs at their seats.

Here’s my model complete with skipped lines and circled transition words.

Future Essay

By the end of the writing session, each student had a first draft done.  Tomorrow, I plan to take some time and work on editing, proofreading, conferencing and finally, writing a new draft of their essay.

I was so happy that I decided to go with my gut and work my entire day (it was actually a half day for us today) into this theme of Future Day!  Feel free to do this in your own class any day you wish.  It just goes to show you how taking a theme and hooking kids into that theme can really get them excited and working hard.  Not to mention, it motivated this teacher to work with a theme that was exciting to her!


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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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