What I really enjoy about Wonder + IDEAS is that students truly feel the freedom and the vast majority understand their responsibility during this time. Today we had several film makers (who wrote scripts, edited footage on iMovie, and acted); several painted a solar system for our friendly alien resident, E.T.iqulus, to live in; another group made a stop motion video with clay and and iPad app; one student made creative emojis using wooden sticks, cotton balls and Styrofoam and then "raffled" them off to 11 or so students. Another group made fingernail polish with some gloss and paint...and then went ahead and applied it on their nails. These are just to name a few projects that happen on a weekly basis.
That's another aspect I really love: students want to share their creations with others, and students love receiving these wonderful gifts.
I can truly see many students who have a keen sense of artistry, creativity and risk-taking in their endeavors. Even I sometimes wonder how they made something so amazing in an hour or less.
Also, as certain ideas percolate and are sometimes taken on by other students, I can see an overall increase in quality, as they learn from each other and further iterations create even better work.
My job is simply to facilitate, cut cardboard with the cutting knife, and give ideas and quick feedback to help scaffold any obstacles or to assist them in tweaking their project idea. More often than not, they are able to help each other to accomplish their goals. I find it better to let them figure things out on their own; that's where the real learning happens, as well as developing perseverance and, of course, feeling proud of "their" accomplishments.
Of course, the final presentations on the white screen using the iPad, doc camera, projector, or simply standing in front of the class is the real joy. They love sharing what they've created, and then they take a few questions from the audience. Usually, we never have enough time to get through all the wonderful presentations.
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.