Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Classroom Charette

In design fields the term charette means an intense work time by one person or a group of people prior to a deadline. It's a creative period where completion is the goal.  That's what happened in our class today--the project charette.

I started the morning explaining to students that the best Valentine's Day gift I could hope for was students completing their projects with care.  They gave me that gift.  From early in the day until just before the dismissal bell rang, students put final touches on their research, images, text, and trifold cardboard presentation board for this week's Family History/Immigration Museum Open House. 

The room was a mass of colored paper, print-outs, glue, tape and images.  Students carefully positioned their research on the board and waited for approval before pasting, well, at least most of the students. Some jumped ahead pasting away while others snuck out to print an extra image or title. 

Teachers edited, solved design problems, coached and guided.  Students helped each other too. A lunch meeting with grade level colleagues who were also participating in the project served to foster camaraderie and support as well. It was the epitomy of collaborative learning and endeavor.  

When the day ended, the room was bordered by colorful posters with titles such as China, India, Sri Lanka, Korea, Russia, France, England, Ghana, Denmark, Armenia, Brazil, Jamaica and Canada.  Everyone was proud of the work they had done.

In a couple of days we'll share the projects with family members who will also bring in festive foods representing their homelands and ancestral origins.  It will be a great time for families to share a bit of their history and culture with each other in a educational event focused on the children.

A classroom charette is a busy, active, creative time.  It's a worthwhile endeavor at a project's end stage. 

I'd like to hear about your charettes and the ways you manage this creative event for best effect. It's always a bit daunting as the charette approaches, but once you reach completion there's a sigh of relief for a job well done.