Today I was given a thin book – or, as described on the front cover “a little pamphlet for people who can”. The book/pamphlet is by Seth Godin as a follow-on for those inspired by his book, “Linchpin”. The parent who gave it to me, knows we are in the process of beginning our PYP Exhibition – the culminating project in fifth grade in which the students showcase their understandings from their elementary school career.
What does it mean to ‘ship it’ and what is this all about? Here is what Seth says:
When you ship…things change. Your project interacts with the world and the market changes. You change. Your relationship with your team changes. There is a mark in the calendar–there were days before you shipped and then there are the days afteryou shipped. Drawing a line like this is frightening, because it’s not always obvious what happens after you draw the line and after you cross the line. This line is empowering. It demonstrates your ability to make things happen. This booklet gives you the power to draw that line, step by step, day by day – and then cross it. Write in the book. Draw the line. Commit. The project will ship.
I like the pithy, seqential layout of the book and the astute way it guides you over those hurdles that may typically prevent you from ‘shipping it’. I liked it so much, that as soon as I finished, I tried to buy 30 copies for my kids. Sadly, it is out of print. Not one to give up, I have since been given permission to copy it for my kids so they can experience recording their project in preparation for ‘shipping it’. I am excited to share this with them tomorrow.
Here are a few of my favorite pages:
We often talk about telling kids that it is ok to fail but that must sound like suddenly turning around and saying “It’s ok to run with scissors” or “It’s ok to skip your homework”. We keep repeating it though and we are starting to see that truth sink in. What I like about ShipIt is that it acknowledges failure, it acknowledges fear, shame, road blockers and people who will try and stop you. And then it says, ‘but you can do it anyway’ in a really beautiful way.
The last word on the back cover sums it all up:
You have brilliance in you, your contribution is valuable, and the art you preate is precious. Only you can do it, and you must. I’m hoping you’ll stand up and choose to make a difference.
Thanks to Seth, our fifth graders are going to be people who can.