Put On Your Creative Thinking Caps!
After reading LAUNCH, I have implemented a LAUNCH Day at the end of the year.
I gather boxes and purchase a few materials such as streamers, pool noodles, pipe cleaners and most importantly DUCT TAPE! I also scrounge up items I already have in the classroom such as stickers, plastic cups, tissue paper, markers, pencils, construction paper and wrapping paper.
Day 1 (L-A-U-N)
- Getting into pre-determined groups.
- Each group had a piece of chart paper.
- (Modified "L") Think about something we have a need for in the classroom or something that would be fun to have for next year. (Jot down ideas and then share out.)
- (Modified "A") Think about what materials you would need. How can you make something sturdy enough to be mobile and last through next school year?
- (Modified "U") Open yours boxes, look at materials and think about what materials could you use to create something?
- (Modified "N") Choose an idea and sketch a prototype!
Reflection: The students got in their groups and came up with both realistic and unrealistic ideas. Some of them looked around the room to see what we needed, while others were focused on what they wanted. They shared ideas and collaboration seemed to be going well. I heard some students offer their perspective to other ideas and why something may or may not work. Many wanted to start building before planning out the prototype. It was hard for some not to skip to the creating.
Day 2 (C)
- (Modified "C") Today was really all about creating. The final ideas were a "materials" holder that would attach to the side of the desks, a pencil dispenser and a basketball hoop.
- Students were trying out the different materials to see what worked and what didn't.
Reflection: Most of the groups appeared to be having fun. I saw a lot of smiles and heard a lot of laughter. I was picking up all kinds of scraps that had been discarded. Students were working together with minimal disagreements. I began to notice who was jumping right in and trying things out and who was sitting back and letting the others take the lead. I also noticed who was trying to look as though they were contributing, but upon closer examination were not really as collaborative as they seemed.
Day 3 (H)
- (Modified "H") Definitely had some project fatigue today.
- "Materials" Holder fell off the desk during the night. That was probably the biggest set-back. The students had a prototype that needed to be improved. They had to rethink purpose and function.
- Basketball Hoop: They ran out of duct tape. They had to problem solve using yarn and pipe cleaners. They also had to improve on their "hoop" as it was ripping when they threw the basketball in.
- Pencil Dispenser: They had to figure out how to get the pencils to slide down because there was a hole in the box they were getting stuck on.
Reflection: Students definitely "hit a wall" when we started class today. They were frustrated for different reasons (as stated above) and I noticed communication started to break down. In one group, a student took over the lead, but was not allowing others to participate. In another group, one student kept trying to improve the product, but the rest of the group was just watching. In another group, two students were working on the product while two others were chatting. I went around and used the term project fatigue and explained exactly what I was observing.
- The basketball hoop was functional. I even brought out a whiteboard so they could keep score.
- Material Holders were created for four tables. Instead of hanging off the side, they are created to sit on the table. They even have a pool noddle to hold pencils (stick right through Styrofoam) or a plastic cup.
- The Pencil Dispenser is functional. As students take pencils, more fall through.
- Overall, they seemed to agree the "C" (creating) was one of the easier steps. Some also thought the "L" (listen, look, learn) was easy because they came up with ideas.
- On the other hand, most agreed the "H" was the most challenging. They thought trying to improve on their products after the initial "building" posed many obstacles.
- About 50% of the group enjoyed the task and proceeding through the LAUNCH Cycle, while others were wishy washy about their feelings.
- A few said they would like to try it again, however would like to choose their own groups.
- I was able to tell liked the freedom of being handed a box with little direction, while others struggled not knowing exactly what to do.
- I saw natural leaders in the group who dove right in, I saw collaborative group members who jumped in to help and I saw some who were more observers than participants.
- I was able to witness collaborative skills and strategies by listening to how they responded to one another. I was also able to hear how they disagreed with one another, whether it was respectful or not.
- I watched them deal with set backs in an optimistic and growth minded way, while others seemed to sit back appearing to give up.
- I saw some of them push through the project fatigue and seeing it as a way to improve and grow.
May all you find that creative spark this summer!