Shift-P, the name of Alina’s programing project, and MoHo have had a quite eventful week.
Throughout the weeks that just past Alina, the school leader Lasse and MoHo have been planning and preparing for the workshops that just took place and the once that are to come.
It’s been an interesting process in so many different ways. Trying to get dates to fit more then 4 parties can be a bit of a challenge, but we managed some how.
It has been decided that we will be working with Børnebyen Glesborgs 6-graders, which means that we are sharing a class of 20 students. The Shift-P team will be built up by 9 students, while MoHo will be working with the remaining 11 students. Seeing that Alina is a non-danish speaker means that all her lessons will be in English, which in turn means that her students have to feel some what confortable with the English language. You can read more about her project on www.cocreator.biz where you also will be able to follow the students blog (in Danish).
Our very first workshops with the students took place Wednesday the 7th and 8th this week. We decided that the workshop on the 7th was going to be with students from both teams, while the second was going to be with the two teams divided. This was a decision that we made since there were some basic inputs that we felt both groups needed from the get-go.
Below you find the Program and the Script from the first workshop.
It is always interesting to see how the students react towards the different exercises we put the through. When working with a class of 12-13 year olds you never know if they are going to jump straight into it with heart and soul, or if they are going to stand around while working on looking cool. It is just in that age that the students start being more and more concerned with what others think about them and their image, which can make it into a challenge to get them to loosen up.
Here you can see a short video of the balloon energizer https://vimeo.com/38308155
For the very first time we tried the balloon energizer and portrait exercise. It went well and the students enjoyed it. While they were drawing one another one of the teachers came up to one of us and told us that she was amazed that the girl in the class who refuses to participate in the drawing classes was actually drawing, and the boy who hardly ever smiles was laughing, smiling and running around being the class clown. This in itself felt like we hit the jack pot, now the only question was if we could keep this up through out the entire day.
After the portraits were all done and up on the wall we could see that two of them had the word “Dum” written on them. Translated that means “dumb” or “stupid” this we found disturbing and decided that we should have a little talk with them about team ethics and teamwork.
After the break and The Talk we introduced them to The Hats. For the first introduction to this version of brainstorming we didn’t want to overwhelm the students with information, so for this exercise we chose to boil down Edward de Bono’s famous 6 Thinking Hats. This left us with 4 hats, Green for Ideas, Yellow for Evaluation, Red for being Realistic and Blue for Drawing. From the beginning we had planed that this was only going to be a short introduction, but seeing how popular it was, and how much the students were enjoying it, we decided that we should let them truly get their heads into it. So instead of having 30 minutes to work with it, they had 1 hour and 15 minutes for brainstorming and 15 minutes for presentation. Of course this change in the schedule meant that we had to take away two of the exercises that we had planned, but that is a part of holding these kind of workshops. When you see that the students are in a flow, just let them continue doing whatever they are doing.
Before letting the students go off to have their lunch we quickly asked them to think about positive things about themselves, their family, the school and their city. The reason for this request of refection was that after the lunch the students were going to play Have You Noticed (you can read more about it in the Script). This exercise did not work as well as we have hope. We believe that one of the reasons for this is that the students simply were too young for it. They had a hard time taking it seriously and they do have a hard time reflecting without someone asking them “Why, why, why?”.
The previous exercise totally new to us and didn’t really work as it was supposed to, so when we stepped into the next one, The Knot, we didn’t really know what to expect seeing that that one was new to us as well. But to our relief it was a success. The students not only handled it well, but managed to follow the two rules set for the exercises, No Talkling and No Touching, almost completely. Once in a while you could hear some one say “NO touching!” or “Shhhhh, no talking!” which not only impressed us as facilitator but the teachers as well.
Some of the exercises of the day has been developed to support and build up to the final one which is designing a new Logo for Børnebyen Glesborg seeing that the one used at the moment is rather out of date (and no, not in a cool retro way).
The energy was high and the curiosity of what was to come was now on an all time high. So we introduced them to the next part of the day, which was The Logo. As to give them a bit more knowledge about colors and forms Alina held a brief introduction to the subject. Since Alina doesn’t not speak Danish we were once amazed over just how into it the students were, even the once who didn’t really understand that much English. (We did translate some of the pieces)
After this we divided the students into teams of 3 and 4, after which we gave them free hands to draw, paint, cut and glue as much as their hearts desired. At this time of the day and in the process it was interesting to see how they handled not only working in teams but doing so being tired after an entire day of new inputs. Most of them handled it well and dove straight into the project, while others tuned out and started running around disturbing the students who tried to concentrate.
When we noticed that one student after the other started to loos their concentration we decided to wrap it up a bit earlier then planned so that we could give them a break and hope that that had given them so much that they could handle sitting still for the presentation… It worked Re-energized to a certain level we meet up at The Big Square for the final presentation.
Normally we would ask the students to give one another gifts in form of positive feedback on post-it notes by the end of etch presentation, but due to the energy level we decided to do give the feedback verbally instead. This was interesting seeing that some students showed us sides they hadn’t had a chance to show us earlier. One of the boys showed us that he was really good at reflecting both over the meaning of the logos as well as the color combination and composition, while some of the girls stepped forward and showed us that they were really good at presenting and speaking up for their project.
As the gran finale we asked everyone to gather around in a ring and all in one voice step into the ring and say “Thank you for today”