So here we are again at Ground Zero. One of the many things I enjoy about teaching is that every year is a fresh start. Every year is a reboot. Every year is different.
This year my goal is to catalogue my year. Our students are in school for 180 days. I am only teaching part time (by choice) so I will see them for roughly 108 of those days. 72 days will be spent on my own. But even though I have 72 non-teaching days, that doesn’t mean I stop being a teacher.
Today we performed my favorite opening day activity. On the surface it looks like it’s no more than time killer, but it’s purpose is so much deeper.
Step #1: You tell the kids to take their two mini containers of colourful Play Doh and create something as cool as they can come up with. Oh, and you get five minutes. Most of them complain that they can’t think of anything. Some are feeling rushed and get right to it. And they eventually come up with some pretty creative things.
I’m sure you’d agree with me….pretty creative for 5 minutes of hard core effort! I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s far better than I could do. But this is working by yourself….under a very short space of time.
Is it hard? To come up with an idea? To think it through? To carry it out?
Were you stressed? Did you think it was difficult?
Ok, so their creations were amazing. But then we performed step two.
Step #2: I told them to form a groups of at least 3 and put their play doh together to create something masterful! I gave them much more time. In fact, I didn’t even really give them a time limit. They worked so well they didn’t even notice when I left class for five minutes to wander around the middle school and say hello to some of the other classes. And these were some of the results I got through their combined efforts and creativity.
I told them the winners could keep their play doh. They wanted to know….who won?
I told them all….well, since you all wound up with something even better than you started with, you all win.
What we learned on Day 1: We all bring something to the table, no matter how big or small it may be. At the end of the day, together we can create something much more amazing than we can by ourselves.