Monday, December 19, 2011

Creativity Days: Day One

Creativity Days Dragon Creation
We embarked on Creativity Days today.  Students were very excited, so excited that it was difficult getting everyone to sit still for the project introduction.

We started with a discussion about "Learning to Learn Skills."  I asked students to list the skills they needed to learn.  Immediately they listed essential skills such as reading, writing, math, keyboarding and subject knowledge.  Then I prompted them to think more deeply about other types of skills and ways of thinking they would need to learn well.  One student started that thought thread when she answered that it was important for students to be interested in the topic.  I added "passions and interest" to the list.  Then that list grew with the addition of imagination, stamina, pacing, a "don't give up" attitude, confidence, dreams, patience, listening, believing in yourself and understanding what you're trying to learn.

That discussion set the stage well.  I passed out the planning lists and students started the process.  Several students bypassed the planning stage only to find themselves stuck with too-big projects or projects they didn't like.  We met again and I emphasized the planning process and project behaviors: stay on task, be polite, follow directions, listen, do your best, be patient and work quietly so that everyone else can work.  Children got to work after that as I held meetings and responded to students' questions and obstacles.

The class project choices represent a wide range of topics including animal life spans, fabric art, sled design, protection of marine animals, clarinet music, paper airplanes, football rules, music videos and more.

As the teacher in charge I find myself vacillating between awe and angst as I guide these young innovators.  At the end of the day, I asked students if the project was worth it--the overwhelming majority voted yes.  The few that voted no expressed specific project concerns that I will be able to remedy tomorrow.

Hence, Creativity Days continues.  Stay tuned for more reflection and news.  Also, don't hesitate to lend your ideas and wisdom.