Captain’s Log — Stardate: September 8, 2016

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the premier of the original “Star Trek” television series. This long lasting sci-fi franchise is responsible for spurring the imagination of millions of people, myself among them. As a child I could imagine nothing better than racing past the stars at warp speed. Star Trek and made science cool, and a few enterprising teachers (pun intended!) capitalized on the excitement we had about science fiction to engage our full attention.

So, what are you doing to build off of the passions of the kids in your afterschool program? Whether it’s Star Trek, Minecraft, American Ninja Warrior, superheroes or Pokémon there are ways to build it into your program — from reading, writing and acting out original stories, to calculating how fast Supergirl flies, to thinking up what types of things aliens might eat and debating the answers — afterschool is the place to stretch kids’ imaginations.

Looking for more ideas to get started? First ask the kids what they are interested in, if you don’t already know. Then read about what kids say about student engagement. Then go to the internet — Pinterest alone has thousands of ideas on any of these topics.

It’s easy to keep kids’ interest when the content is fun, so go ahead and give it a try. As Captain Picard (my personal favorite) would say: Engage!

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