We started our state testing this week and my site draws it out over one month. This means I have block scheduling a lot. I'm not really trained for block schedules and I bore myself during our 2 hours together. This year I had to mix it up or we may just go down in flames. A project, I think to myself, something to keep them sustained and busy for at least two weeks, but what? And then it hit me. Design. The old fashioned way.
20 Time in Education. Many of the teachers I interviewed did not have any technology in the classroom or school and were brainstorming ideas for 20 Time that only required art supplies. One of the teachers, Natalie Parsons, thought about allowing her 1st graders the opportunity to create a small 3D city. The city would allow those students interested in nature to design the landscaping, others could do architecture, scaling, transportation, animals, people, etc. Each student would be creating individual parts of the city to create a whole class project. Genius right?
Yep. My seniors began designing a city today. Not just any city. The city of London in Brave New World. I didn't stop there. While one class is designing London, another class is designing the Savage Reservation, while the final class is creating and designing the sports that are mentioned throughout the story like Obstacle Golf and Escalator Squash (of course we will play it too).
So how did it go? Freaking awesome. I honestly didn't expect the engagement and participation that I saw today. I didn't even have to guide much (although this is probably because I teach seniors). I showed them the cardboard box that would be their base and within 2 minutes had teams for:
Wow. The collaboration was amazing. The communication was never-before-seen. The creativity? Off the charts! They are using everything from modeling clay to pipe cleaners to origami to milk cartons. The critical thinking? Key. Is this building important enough to be included? How should we design this Savage Ceremony for great visualization?
The best part? Parent help. I sent a blanket email out to the parents and asked them to scour their old art supplies and craft bins for anything they'd want to donate. Now I have a huge selection of random supplies: popcycle sticks, model clay, scrapbooking supplies, ribbon, poster, paper, glitter (a lot of glitter), pipe cleaners, squishy pom-pom things, etc. The students have the supplies to be as creative as they want.