#DigiLitSunday & #SOLC17: Innovation = choice

The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of  a writing community.

DigiLit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

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I had fun coming up with a list of possible historical fiction book club project ideas a couple of weeks ago, ideas which (I thought) they would enjoy working with.  We passed this list around, went over the options, asked questions to clarify and then got into our groups for decision making.  As students worked,  I made the rounds to listen in and see if I could be of help in any way as they chose their project and mapped out planning sheets.

I guess I should not have been surprised to find that although my students were sweetly appreciative of the  “creative” list of options I had provided, most of them chose the last option: “Got an idea of you own? Do it!”

Here’s what Lila and Amelia planned to create:

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They walked me through their plans patiently, explaining how they had figured out what to do, why they wanted this particular format, and how they hoped to get it all done.  And then they were off to the races: each project day would find them working in their particular corner of the room, talking and referring to the text.  To tell the truth, I wasn’t exactly sure what this project would turn out to be like, but Lila and Amelia knew, and they were happily confident as they worked together day after day, all the way to project presentation day:

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And this was pretty much true for most of the book groups as well, they chose to come up with their own ideas and find ways to execute them.  Project day was so much fun for me, their teacher, as group after group came forward to show off their inventiveness:

We had everything from comic books to stop motion movies to movies filled with all sorts of technical flourishes I couldn’t even imagine how to do.  None of these, of course, had been on the original list.   It was another example of a teaching truism I have come to believe in with all my heart: if you give kids a little bit of scaffolding and a whole lot of choice, they will create amazing things…they will innovate.

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “#DigiLitSunday & #SOLC17: Innovation = choice

  1. So true! It has gotten to the point where I do not even worry about the list of possibilities- I list one or two and they fill in the rest, and you are right, they imagine and innovate way better than I could.

  2. Kids will never cease to amaze me. You, of course, have facilitated a classroom work room where kids are encouraged to choose, understand the expectations, and learning to become self-directed learners – the goal. HF is my favorite, and I think our kids sense what we honor as well. Thanks for sharing your ideas as well as your thoughts.

  3. The best part of this slice is your willingness to let go, and let the students create. This has given me an idea to extend my next lesson in the library; thanks!

  4. One of the things that is sadly missing in my classroom in which I teach small groups at multiple grade levels is this kind of group work. Your students created innovative products because you encouraged them. Way to go! (The link up is slow in coming this morning.)

  5. “if you give kids a little bit of scaffolding and a whole lot of choice, they will create amazing things…they will innovate.” And isn’t this the kind of life work we’re preparing them for?
    Thank you for believing in them as innovators.

  6. Your story is about the independent-minded students choosing something not given as a choice by you and celebrating that. I think it is also about ALL you did up to this point so they would feel comfortable to be a risk-taker, taking what you call “a little bit of scaffolding” and building on that great foundation. I’m celebrating YOU in this comment – YOU did so much through building a classroom community so your students could do this project with such independence. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Choice is so empowering, but you have given them tools all year with which to fly, too. I do love that they chose their own unique projects. It must have been fun for you to see!

  8. “To tell the truth, I wasn’t exactly sure what this project would turn out to be like, but Lila and Amelia knew, and they were happily confident” This was my take away quote, to give them foundation and then trust them. To witness that happy confidence that will help them throughout their life. Bravo!

  9. It speaks to your work in the development of independence in your students, that you are able to unleash their creativity. This balance takes a lot of hard work in the beginning, but the rewards are great…just like what you experienced on that final day with your students. I tended to run my classes the same way: a lot of scaffolding (they were ENL students, so they needed it), with a lot of choices for self-expression (which they also needed since they were silent so much of the day in their mainstream classrooms). Well done, teacher.

  10. This is such an important reminder of student choice—innovation can only happen in authentic situations. You have clearly done a beautiful job giving them the tools they need for success. Roots & wings.

  11. What fabulous projects your kiddos came up with. As so many have said, this speaks to your hard work with them. They could not have done this work had you not given them the tools.

  12. Ah, I love this so much! What a truth! And what an amazing teacher moment, to see the creative end projects that they came up with. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. A little bit of scaffolding + whole lot of choice = kids who will innovate. Don’t forget the critical teaching that led your learners to this point. “Project day was so much fun for me, their teacher, as group after group came forward to show off their inventiveness.” A joyful post!

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