My Moment - Day 36 - Learning Is a Process

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

I have never been the type of person to test the waters on something before committing. I am all or nothing. I jump right in. I "refuse to conform to social trends...". In other words, I like to do things differently. Depending on who you ask, that can be a desirable leadership trait or one you may not fancy. Interested in reading more about me...check out this article, "People Who Wear Crazy Socks Are Smart, Successful and Revolutionary"

This week is #eweek2016 or Engineer's Week and we are jumping right in. Students in our learning commons have been working on a collaborative project that will culminate as part of our open house for parents on March 3rd. We have identified the theme for our open house as "Siglerland". Students have been using a science TEK across each of the grade levels that incorporates Force, Motion and Energy. The idea is that students will use the design process to create a ride, game or experience that would be seen at an amusement park. While each of the grade levels has a specific TEK or learning target, ALL students are working on the same project in the learning commons. They are creating a six hole mini-golf course using Spheros as the . The idea was inspired by a tweet posted by Dr. Brad Gustafson or @GustafsonBrad

Check out his Vine: 

Over the last two weeks, our students have been working on their mini-golf course. I did not have any expectations going into this project and the only frame of reference I had was what I had seen on the Vine posted above. After two weeks of work, here is what our students have created so far. Thoughts? I certainly had mine. If I am being completely honest, looking at these compared to the examples that were shared in the Vine (linked above) from an aesthetics stand point, we are coming up a bit short. However, Siglerland does not open until March 3rd. 

I have kept a closer eye on the students working on the mini-golf course holes over the last week or so spending a moment or two observing students working and my perception has changed completely. We jumped into this work with two feet. We are all in. Using this and a couple other classroom projects between now and the end of the school year our students are going to be exposed to PBL and the design process...really, our teachers are too. Spending a few moments observing, I have noticed is that PBL and the design process are messy. There is a key word that I failed to recognize when I arrived at my first thought...process. After all, this is why we want our students involved in PBL and the design process, right? The product may not be flashy and it may not even be fully functional, but the process students are going through to arrive at the product is more valuable than what they will showcase next week. 

Let this soak in...our grade levels, made up of anywhere between 3-5 sections of classes, have come down to our learning commons, one class at a time and have collaboratively researched, imagined, planned, created, tested and evaluated, and improved a design. A design that in some cases, was not theirs to start with. We are talking about 5-11 year olds. Do you realize the restraint some students show, in not scrapping the prior idea and starting over completly, so the idea belongs to them? Instead, our students have improved or redesigned, making an original idea better. 

With the grand opening of Siglerland just over a week away, I am excited to see our students' products on display, but more importantly, I am proud of the process they have worked through. Regardless of what the final product "looks" like, I am excited to hear our students explain the process they went through to arrive at their product. I want to hear what did not work. I want to hear what did. I want to hear what they would do differently. I want to hear about the process. 

Thankfully, learning is a process and I am continually learning what our students are capable of when presented with the opportunity. 

Learning is process and in this was a design process. 

What was your moment today? 

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