PESKY DOOR KNOBS AND BLOODY KNEES For the first task, students designed an interview template to get to know a challenge or problem that a friend from class was having. Once they understood the problem, they were asked to build a “robot” out of recycled materials that would help solve their friend’s real-life problem or challenge. My favorite was built for a student who had trouble falling asleep at night. His friend built him a robot that poured warm milk with honey. It also had a set of “headphones” that would read him a bedtime story. In the idealistic beauty of this student’s idea, is my simple dream for each of my students: finding creativity and self-worth through problem-solving with kindness. For task two, the students noticed that the books on our beautiful new bookshelf (a gift from a kind parent) kept falling off the back because there was no backing on the unit. The students all came up with beautiful designs for gluing or hammering a wooden or plastic backing to the shelves, and, realizing we all pretty much had the same design, WE BUILT IT! We found an old piece of Plexiglas in the basement of our building. Measured it, cut it and screwed it onto the back of the bookshelf. Huge smiles as they each pulled the trigger on the power drill. We fixed it. The books no longer fall off the shelf. A simple need. A simple solution. Helping ourselves by helping our environment. Beautiful. And so, just like that, my kids have turned into builders. Problem solvers. Thinkers. We’re sawing and hammering and measuring and designing. We’re cutting and taping and gluing and creating. We’re breaking and shattering and trying again. We’re looking at real-life problems within our environment, thinking about them critically and then designing, adapting, and building solutions to solve these problems. Not always working out perfectly, but always with an eye toward simplicity, humanity and kindness. What can WE do for YOU? For US?
“MY FAVORITE WAS BUILT FOR A STUDENT WHO HAD TROUBLE FALLING ASLEEP AT NIGHT. HIS FRIEND BUILT HIM A ROBOT THAT POURED WARM MILK WITH HONEY. IT ALSO HAD A SET OF “HEADPHONES” THAT WOULD READ HIM A BEDTIME STORY. IN THE IDEALISTIC BEAUTY OF THIS STUDENT’S IDEA, IS MY SIMPLE DREAM FOR EACH OF MY STUDENTS: FINDING CREATIVITY AND SELF-WORTH THROUGH PROBLEM-SOLVING WITH KINDNESS.”
May 2015 issue of Courageous Creativity, themed around 'Creative Teaching'