Sarah Warren

Cartographer's Notebook #2: Meet the Natives

Blog Post created by Sarah Warren on Apr 27, 2020

We've spent the last week and a half reflecting on who we are as a leader in this expedition, orienting ourselves to embrace change, and diagnosing some of the challenges we will face in the future. Chapter 3 focused on getting acquainted with Generation Z, the natives of this new territory. In calling our students natives, we are admitting that we are transplants in this new land. We aren't simply visiting or passing through, we exist in this land with them now - there's no turning back, no matter how much we want to return to the old and familiar. We also can't truly immerse ourselves either - we will never be natives, no matter how much slang we learn or how many TikToks we create. But there is beauty in being a transplant in this new world - we bring our own experiences of past generations of life which can be leveraged to strengthen Generation Z, and we have the opportunity to grow ourselves as we listen, observe, and connect with the natives. Though you haven't been able to see your students in person for several weeks (and it may be several more yet before you see them again), I hope you feel closer and more acquainted with them and all their struggles and triumphs. They certainly need you to understand them now more than ever.


This week's discussion is below, but first....


A Note About the "Travel Guide:"

Often throughout Marching Off the Map, Elmore mentions the "Travel Guide" and points you there regarding a concept. On our Expedition Chat this past Friday, someone asked what Elmore is referring to when he mentions this. It came to my attention that some of you received this guide along with your book or you ordered it for your own use, while others did not. For those of you who may be wondering, the "Travel Guide" is a small companion journal designed to accompany this book. It contains questions and activities, as well as a few extended pieces of information. Many of the questions and activities you will see in this book club are inspired by prompts from the guide! So, if you have a copy of it and are completing the Travel Guide, a few questions may look familiar - I hope you will still share your honest insights for the benefit of the group.  However, if you do not have this guide, have no fear! You certainly do not need it and will receive much of the content from it in this book club. As we progress, if there is something particularly noteworthy in the Travel Guide I will be sure to post it in our group here. For example, here is an excerpt from the Travel Guide in Chapter 3, referenced on p. 46:


"Three Paradoxes For Generation Z:

1. Their world will continue to feel bigger as they are growing up in a global economy, but their peer group at home will actually be smaller. They will compete with jobs against the world's best and brightest, yet they'll live in the shadows of a much larger Millennial generation at home. As a smaller population, they may not receive the attention the Millennials got, much like Generation X grew up in the shadows of the Baby Boomers.

2. Thanks to social media, they'll continue to be savvy to information and culture yet may be naive since the information requires no experience. They'll know so much yet so little, as they can now choose their news feeds and miss a bigger picture. This can produce what I call "artificial maturity," where they're overexposed to information, yet under-exposed to real-life application. 

3. Their world will challenge them to be healthy - physically and emotionally - yet the default is a sedentary lifestyle in front of a screen. Life is on-demand. They can binge on anything that feels good. As leaders, we'll need to help them negotiate between the desires (dreams) they have and the disciplines required to fulfill those desires. And in the midst of this, keep their hope alive for a better future." - Marching Off the Map: Interactive Travel Guide, Tim Elmore, p. 10-11


I hope you will reflect on these paradoxes as we move into our reflection time for the week.




1. How well do you connect with Generation Z? Fill out this report card!
(refer to p. 50 in Marching Off the Map for details on each quality)


To connect with Generation Z, we should:  Grade
(A - F)

Keep it Short

Make it Visual
Feed Curiosity
Give them Ownership
Make it Interactive

Gamify your Content

Offer a Cause


Choose one quality and reflect on why you gave yourself that grade. How do you do it well? OR How do you feel you struggle in this area?


2. We spend a lot of time talking about the negative aspects of Generation Z. What is a positive characteristic of this generation that you have seen in your experience? (OR can you turn around a negative characteristic and see the positive ways it could be used?) How can we as educators encourage and develop that characteristic in a healthy, useful way?


3. What can we do to help our typically pessimistic students see the bright side of things and stay hopeful/positive, even in the face of adversity?