This year was a foundational year, where we had to lay down the concrete, and let it dry.-and often times experiencing that the “drying” process takes much longer than expected. Letting your feet sink in concrete is not fun and it’s hard work to clean off the mud. What do I mean by this? We had to start with a foundation of Conceptual thinking, we started off the year with a bang at our staff meeting were the staff worked together to come up with our lesson plan format that completely encompassed the designer thinking process. We hit many and I mean MANY road blocks and the program was met with much resistance from some staff members. (It still is but that is okay!)
Throughout the year, the media center and maker space served as the hub where teachers would bring classes to work on projects that incorporated design thinking. It started with one or two teachers, Ms. Allen with her Spanish students, and Ms. Colman with her SBS students. They were the forerunning teachers of this program. Gradually, other teachers began to take notice of how the students were processing and absorbing these concepts. Our 6th grade ELA team and Ms. Reynolds, 6th grade S.S. teacher really dove in this winter followed by a few others. Our kids are so excited to use the materials in the maker space. I notice, especially with our SBS kids, when they engage in these projects, they are really thinking their work through and are not getting as frustrated when things don’t go as planned. For these kids, it is incredible to see this in action.
In the future, I would like to see our math and science teachers start to use the space and the design thinking process and these subject areas are a natural blend.
I also anticipate my podcasting group going to great heights-a program that we tried to start but had to put on halt for the remainder of the year. I also hope to receive some grant funding for my “Holistically Debugging the Coding Mind” Project.
I grew up in the 80’s and one of my favorite things to play with was Spirograph. I distinctly recall the art of placing one circle shape inside the other circle shape and the pattern that you created all depended upon which hole you placed your pen in. There was always an element of surprise as to what it would look like which was the appeal, as it never turned out to what you expected it to be.
The design thinking process at Northeast Middle School this year reminds me of this. I started off with much curiosity and eagerness to take it on, but not a clue as to what it would look like, nor a clue as to whether or not the teachers at our school would take to it. But then again, it is a risk and such is life! I got out of it so much more than I expected and am thrilled to take it on and build upon it next year. I can’t wait to see what is in store.
In the Beginning: The Blank Slate–
The Spirograph Forward
End: Pattern Recognition Abstraction
The Future: Finding the Algorithm