We have all heard the phrase, think outside the box. We know what it is. We know we want our students to do it. This year, I have decided to put a little spin on that phrase.
This year, I have taken the phrase to the next step. I have been telling my students that they need to think like there is no box. There is no limit to their ideas, thoughts, or creativity. How this will play out this year, I don’t know. I know I have to push the creative envelope with my students. They know that I wasn’t impressed with the work they did last year as a whole. I know they tried their best, but this year I am going to see how far I can push them creatively.
To push my students I am stressing a few things:
- Brainstorming is an awesome thing. When we are starting our projects, tossing out ideas isn’t an option. Gathering everyone’s ideas and knowledge at the beginning of the project is most important. We began to use a version of the KWL chart. I took this from project based learning. It begins by listing what we know, then on to what we need to know, and then we figure out what our next steps would be. This has helped to stream line knowledge of what we know already, and how to move from the chart to the project.
- Sing like you are in the shower. In our class, we just can’t give a simple PowerPoint presentation. We have to move beyond it. Students need to think of other ways to show what they know. They need to equate a presentation as a performance. Some students will see this as a heart stopping, knees shaking experience. Many will almost refuse to take part. Others will do very little because they will feel embarrassed. What I have to do is motivate my students to do presentations without being embarrassed, or scared. They just need to do enough so that they feel comfortable speaking in front of people.
- Work hard and be proud. One area my students lacked last year was their work ethic wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Don’t get me wrong, it improved over the past year. It just wasn’t where I needed it to be for their projects. I know that the harder they work, the more invested they are in their work, the more proud they will be of their final project. When they are proud of their work, the students will present their work to an audience with eagerness and pride.
- Don’t rely on “old faithful”. When it comes to technology we have a few constraints. One constraint is we are limited to amount of websites the district will allow us to access. Another student constraint is we are limited by technology . For example we can’t use cell phones, iPods, and other types of technology that could help enhance our classroom. The final constraint is the fact that we have few computers in our classrooms with limited programs loaded on it to be used for presentations. Looking at that scenario we have to be creative in the ways we do our presentations. We can do more than just use PowerPoint, which I call “old faithful”. I was bored last year with some of the presentations that were on PowerPoint because they didn’t use enough creativity. My goal this year is to introduce different websites and web tools that we will use to make presentations worth the time to listen to.
Overall, I don’t want my students to be complacent. I want them to continue to learn and do new things. I feel that it is my job as a Gifted Intervention Specialist to do that.
As the year progresses, I am hopeful that I will be blogging about the awesome things my students are doing. I hope by the end of the year they will have learned to think like there is no box.