A student came to us with an idea, what if students could had a little bit of time to work on something that was totally their idea. She was pitching a fifteen minute creativity break during the day. We believe in the power of choice, and we are always looking for ways to maximize engagement. Her idea was an easy one to honor. This was her idea and she was going to be the one to share it with her peers. Click here to read her post from Voices From the Classroom
What was most striking was how clear she was when sharing her idea with the class. She explained how this would work and what they needed to do. The kids responded beautifully, they went off and got to work. It was interesting to see how the students used the time to create their projects with total independence. Not a moment was wasted. There was a lot of diversity in the kinds of projects kids wanted to create: math games, musical instruments, mapping out summer reading, informational texts, and responses to reading and writing. Their work revealed what aspects of learning were most significant for each child. During the share it was apparent that students were being influenced by each other’s work. They were drawing up creativity plans for the next time.
When we give students freedom we gain control and rigor It seems counterintuitive to many but it’s the truth. This is not arts and crafts, this is connected work that allows students to take some ownership over their own focused learning. This idea came from a student,, her idea matters, we value her thinking and this empowers her and challenges a student who is already performing above grade level. This synthesis and evaluative work is just what she needs to continue to grow. This is really just another way to differentiate in the 21st Century Classroom.