The Beginning…

About a year ago on the twitter chat we host here at, we did a session on 30 day challenges. You can read through the storify of that chat. The idea was simple… Short term goals for powerful positive change. Don’t get me wrong, a nice long-term goal is a powerful tool as well. However, dealing with 6th graders on a daily basis, a five-year goal wasn’t going to do the trick. My students are constantly asking to look well into the future from driving licenses to colleges. What they want is the ability to grow and develop now.

The TED talk, seen below, about thirty day challenges is a simple idea. Pick something you want to learn, lose, or challenge yourself to for the next 30 days. Be very intentional about that goal and you would be amazed at the results.


The Bottom…

This year, for an advising activity, we watched the TED talk and did a 30 day challenge as a class. As with most forced advising activities, it didn’t go over as well as we hoped. Students choose goals that were silly, unobtainable or just insignificant. 30 days later, when we talked about our goals, it was even more clear that students didn’t buy into another forced goal activity. I even failed to make any headway on my goal. This activity, the one that I think could be so awesome, failed. This was the bottom. I wanted to know what I needed to change to make this awesome idea work…

The Change…

I went home that night, thinking about the lost opportunity to positively impact my students’ lives. I asked myself, what could I have done, what went wrong, what needs to change to make this work? I wrote my students an open invitation email that night to come join me early in the morning to re-up the 30 day challenge. This time it would be different.

8 students came in early the next morning. I discussed with them the goal of our group was to encourage each other and support each other as we attempt to achieve our goals. I figured out last night the thing that was missing was a community. A group of people who you care dearly about, and didn’t want to report that you failed your goal too.

Creating the Buzz…

As with any good movement, you need some buzz. As a middle school teacher, I know the importance of branding. The night before, I dreamed up a name and logo. We would be called The Power of 30. The name stuck. I even went one step further, creating both background screens for my smart board, and after that, I made up some lockscreens for the kids iPads.

Students’ left our first meeting with their goals, and a sense of community. Our goals were: reading more, working out, 10 push ups a day, 4 blog posts, and trying new foods. These may not sound like much to you, but they are big deals to my students.

Creating a Connection…

A few days later, I invited the students up for recess. Together we all did 10 push ups to help encourage Louise, who had chosen that as her goal. We then discussed how things have been since the first day of the Power of 3o.  The response was wonderful. Students lit up. They talked about the books they started, they shared how they are working out with their families. Maddie, shared how she had already tried several new things. She did let us know that she didn’t really care that much for most of them, but she was proud that she had tried them.

This connection was an important step that was missing from the advising activity. Taking time to check in with each other showed a vested interest in the group. Even over break, students have been writing the group to check in with each other.

From that day forward, our Power of 30 group has been working hard at achieving our goals, while helping each other reach our fullest potential. After our first 30 days, we opened up the group to anyone that wanted to join. Teachers, and students alike are now contributing members of the Power of 30 and my students and I couldn’t be happier.

Creating Change…

We would love for you to consider starting your very own Power of 30 group at your school, workplace, or any group really. It is really amazing what you can all accomplish in 30 days. Below are the downloads to some backgrounds and lock screens for our Power of 3o feel free to use them.

Remember, it is important to both set goals, but also to support each other toward those goals. This project, has been transformative in my life and I believe the lives of many of my students. This idea helps shift them into thinking more with a growth mindset. We are starting to see the world as just a series of choices, and not a series of obstacles. Now that is the power of the growth mindset. The only question we have for you is what choice will you make?


Please consider posting a comment below with your thoughts about this activity. If you plan to use this activity and create your own Power of 30 please share with us your thoughts….



Power of 30 Episode 18 


Power of 30 1080 Backgrounds       and      Power of 30 Lock Screens