Monday, December 19, 2011

Creativity Days Begin Today!

Creativity Days begin today. The way these days are introduced to the class will impact the success of the endeavor.  It's a new project with far fewer parameters than our typical lessons.  So, how will I delicately and pointedly introduce the project?

I'll start with background information.  I will remind students that they are the leaders of their education.  Essentially, they are in the driver's seat when it comes to the decisions, work and outcome of their overall learning endeavors.  With that in mind, I'll also remind them that it's just as important to develop your "learning to learn" skills as it is to develop the essential skills of reading, writing and math.

I'll ask, What do you think "learning to learn" skills include?  I imagine students will offer answers such as asking questions, observation, taking notes, discussing ideas, writing reports, research, presentation, knowing thyself as a learner, reflection, effort and tenacity--all topics we've discussed this year.  Then, I will tell them that Creativity Days is their chance to practice their "learning to learn" skills and to learn about and share a topic that they are really interested in or passionate about.  I'll discuss the fact that our passions and interests fuel our learning, direction and choices, and that we all have different passions and interests. That's what makes the world move forward with innovation, new ideas and happiness.

After that I'll introduce the Creativity Days planning sheet.  We'll quickly review it.  Then, I'll give students the time to think and explore the many books and topics available in our library.  I will let children start their individual research, discovery and creativity once they have completed the planning document and reviewed it with me.  When reviewing students' planning documents, I'll be looking for areas where I can help students with the process and scope of their projects.  I imagine some will want to complete projects that are much too big for the time allotted (about five hours), and I'll help those students break their projects down into steps with a first step as a reasonable project for this time period and later steps for later learning.

As children embark on this journey, I'll give them plenty of room for redirection, revision and rethinking.  I'll be available to help breakdown obstacles and roadblocks.  Today's starting discussion will impact the project's success greatly, and since this is a new project for me too, I'll leave room for Creativity Days revision and redirection too.

The launch begins today at 9:45 a.m.  If you have any wisdom or suggestions to share, please do. I'll document this process in my blog as a means of reflection and direction for later class projects and learning.