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How to Foster Students’ Flexible Thinking & Advocacy Skills Using Future Thinking: The Somedays Activity

How to Foster Students’ Flexible Thinking & Advocacy Skills Using Future Thinking: The Somedays Activity

© 2023 Think Social Publishing, Inc.


Thinking about what could or might happen “someday” is a really abstract idea. It’s easier for kids to think about the here and now than think about an undefined time in the future, like “someday.” The abstractness of the future requires future thinking and reasoning about how one might see themselves and others in another time and space. Yet, having conversations about “someday” dovetails neatly with the concepts of flexible thinking and advocacy, both of which are at the core of social competencies.


We’d like to share a simple yet powerful group activity that cultivates future thinking, reasoning, and flexible thinking to develop advocacy skills in students. By encouraging students to imagine their ideal school experience when completing the sentence, Someday in school, I would like to_____., educators create opportunities for students to imagine what they can do in the here and now to create a path for themselves that they desire for the future.


The Somedays Activity - Download the Activity
Simply ask kids to think about and respond to this prompt: Someday in school, I would like to ___.


Students can respond by writing their response, answering the question aloud, or drawing a picture. The idea is that the adults in the setting will do their best to make these moments of future wishful thinking a reality at some point during the school year. Each someday goal will most likely require flexible thinking, goal setting, interactions with others, and opportunities for all students to practice using their voice of advocacy in reasonable and meaningful ways.


Now, we know what you’re thinking here. Students will ask for outrageous things that are just impossible. Interestingly, this exact task was implemented across several schools over the course of a few years, and educators were amazed at how simple and doable the requests were (https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/letting-student-voice-lead-the-way). Of course, there will be moments of wild wacky wishes but that’s okay. With a few parameters, students can let their voices be heard about what they wish the school day could offer them.


The first “round” of answering the prompt can be anything that comes to mind. This is the foundation of where impossible ideas can become the impetus for flexible thinking toward something that is doable.


Here’s an example. Someday in school, I would like to ___.


Round 1 response: Someday in school, I want us to fly to Italy and have pizza!


As an educator ask yourself, what would get in the way of allowing some variation of this someday wish? Are there possible permutations that we could do as a group? Could I make this into a teaching time?


  1. For example, pairs of students could calculate how much time, money, miles it would take to send the group to Italy (math).
  2. Pairs could locate regions of Italy known for pizza (geography) and create a visual comparison of ingredients of pizza in Italy vs. New York vs. Chicago vs. local pizza (social studies).
  3. Or, given group discussions using parameters, can we do some variation? Parameters to include:
    • during the day/at a certain day/time?
    • individual or whole group?
    • reasonable and possible?
    • unreasonable?
    • resources—time, energy, money?

Round 2 someday goal: Someday in school, I would like to have a pizza party for our class.


Here’s another example: Someday in school, I would like to ___.


Round 1 response: Someday in school, I would like to play video games.


  1. As an educator ask yourself, are there video games that allow for teamwork, collaboration, shared goals, advocacy? Could I create a lesson from this? How can I practice my own flexible thinking on this one?
  2. Add simple parameters:
    • during the day/at a certain day/time?
    • individual or whole group?
    • reasonable and possible?
    • unreasonable?
    • resources—time, energy, money?

Round 2 someday goal: Someday in school, I would like to play video games with my groupmates at lunchtime.


This activity made us realize that sometimes a simple question can open up a world of teaching kids how to think flexibly, advocate, be seen, feel empowered and included, and have some fun along the way. We hope you’ll give this activity a try and adopt it as one of your back-to-school basics!

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