When I saw the site 1000 Things That Matter this morning, my first thought was about what I’d post there. I decided to give it a couple of days and ponder what really matters before putting in my two cents.

Then I considered how I might use this with my gifted students. The obvious application would be to have students write ideas they’d post there. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and I could even have the students post their ideas to the site. But I want to stretch my gifted students, and I’m sure that if I just put this question to them as is, they’d choose the first things that came to their minds. I’d rather take them into higher levels of analysis and evaluation.

One of the interesting things about the site is that the things people are sharing are available as they are posted. I think it would be rather enlightening to have students do a 3‑phase process with this site:

  1. First, answer the question individually: If you had to tell what matters to you in two sentences, what would you say?
  2. Then, look at a sampling (or perhaps all) of the ideas that have been shared already. Consider some of these questions: 
    • What do you notice?
    • Are there any patterns?
    • Are there any common themes that keep coming back?
    • Is there anything that seems to be missing?
    • Is there anything surprising?
    • What can you tell me about the people who are submitting their ideas?
  3. Now look at what you wrote originally. Would you change it? How? Why?

I encourage you to try this process yourself and contribute a comment to the site. I’d also be interested in what other ideas you have for using 1000 Things That Matter with students. Share your ideas here in the comments.