The goal with workshop 3 and 4 was to have something to show Søren from SIS when he arrived on the second half of workshop 4.
Seeing that we are trying to make it into a habit to have a check-in in the morning and then finishing of the day by checking out, that is exactly what we did this morning as well. The student who didn’t want to do it the first time, left the room as usual, but other then that it went well.
After that we showed them some pictures showing The Vittra School in Stockholm, different Google offices and other places where people both study, work and are creative. Just because you grow up doesn’t mean that you have to be boring, nor does a good education always include a school only consisting of chairs and tables…
We also started a new habit by writing down some new words – and the meaning of these words – on the black board. We do this as to give the students a chance to read them through throughout the day so that they can understand them and add them to their vocabulary.
The day started up in a good mindset, and thankfully it staid with us for the rest of the day.
After workshop two we had a big bunch of pictures showcasing different locations around the school with post-it notes describing Why they liked it and What they liked doing there. Heidi and I looked them through last Friday and decided that we felt like we wanted to know more. Seeing that many of the pictures showed the same location we decided to divide them into 11 groups – the entrance ramp and stairs, the students own seat in the class room, the sofas in the class room, the group room (now renamed to the DESIGN LAB), the sofa in the canteen, the football field, the corner in the design lab, the windowsill, the computers in the library, the round tables in the library and the window bench in the library. Seeing that we are lucky enough to have 1of the teachers with us most of the time we asked the one working with us during the morning if she could help us out during this exercise. She said Yes, so we arranged three groups of tables spread around the room, cut of a big pieces of paper for each table and taped the pictures we had selected on to them. 3 groups, 11 locations and 1 hour for the 3 of us to dig deeper into the minds of 11 students resulted in a whole lot of post-it’s and drawings giving us more information on top of the information we already had. Now – a few days later – it is interesting to read and see what the students find important in their environment, and it’s going to be interesting to find out if the students will find it easier to reflect on, not only their environment, but also other things and situations they encounter.
When this was done, and the break was over we introduced them to the Morf-cards. This was something some had been looking forward to seeing that this is what their parents got to play around with during the meeting we had with them last week. For this they had 2×15 minutes to build and they spent it well. Seeing that this is a bit like rapid prototyping – with a twist – the students had already had some practice in building fast which lead them to build more then before. When it comes to groups we asked them if they wanted to choose who to work with by them selves, but seeing that they know that if they do, they end up doing more talking then building they asked us to divide them. This we found a bit odd. (I don’t know about you, but I would never freely had let anyone else choose who I was going to work with if I had the chance to choose my self when I was in that age…) Seeing that they gave us the responsibility to decide who to pair them up with, we made sure to ask them along the way if they thought it was a good match, most of the time the answer was “Yes!”, but it happened that they answer was “No, we would talk too much!”. If that was the case we tried again. In my world this shows a certain amount of maturity that not even many adults posses.
One other habit that we are trying to instill into the students is the habit of cleaning up before leaving the classroom. So before heading of for lunch we asked everyone to clean up first after themselves and then help the others doing the same. No one was the leave the classroom until the tables and floor were tidy.
One of the reasons we had the little slide show that morning was to help the students to open their mind to different ways of spaces for learning and working. After seeing it once, they asked to see it once more, and there were quite a few comments popping up when they, amongst others, saw the pictures from the Vittra School and examples of how a library can look. We did this so that the students wouldn’t be afraid of going bananas later on that day when we let them in on the wonders of going absolutely bonkers, introducing them to Crazy-Circle after lunch. Here we had taped up 4 circles, with the question “New learning environments” in the inner one, and signs saying “Realistic” in the second, “Wild” in the third, and “CRAZY” in the forth. As the inner most circle suggested we asked them to come up with 3 versions of each idea of what could create new learning environments. If they started with an idea that fit in the Realistic Circle, they were asked to first translate it into a Wild idea, and later take the nessesary steps to make it fit into the Crazy-circle. This took some practicing, but as fast as they got a hang of it they enjoyed sitting on the floor, or table or chair for that mater, while drawing and writing on ideas. It became a sort of competition of who could come up with the Craziest idea. Not only was it interesting to see how they competed against one another, it was interesting to see the fast development of the students. From first having trouble coming up with any idea at all, they soon got the hang of it and opened up their imagination to everything from cozy igloos to classrooms you had to swim deep under the water to get to (they, of course included saunas…).
Right after we had introduced them to Crazy-Circle we noticed that the concentration level was rather low, this lead to a very unserious mindset amongst the students. We do not ask them to be serious all the time, but we do ask them to show us what they got, and not start talking about throwing chocolate at one another or growing money-trees so that they never will have to do a single day of work for the rest of their life. Seeing, and hearing, what was going on we decided to have a little chat with them about our expectations on them, and what they will get out of these workshops if they only put some effort into it. They were in need of some inspiration to get back on track, so we talked with them about Sørens upcoming visit and what this might lead to if he sees something he finds to be interesting for SIS.
This gave them the boost they needed and they certainly went crazy creative after that.
When they had been doing this for about 40 minutes we went on to putting words to the ideas, and giving them suitable names. This went on for about 20 minutes where the students spent most of their time quiet other then asking one another for ideas for names and how to spell this or that word.
Once more it’s interesting to see just how well they work as a group and how they have started to ask each other for help instead of just going directly to us. Instead we sit there amongst them, talking, asking and listening to what is going on.
When the day was coming to an end, the students were tired from all the new inputs and started helping out cleaning up the floor. For some reason pulling of the tape was on the top of most of the students list, so they had a little discussion about who was going to do it. 4 circles, 4 students, it was done in no time.
After everything was once more put into place the students themselves started to ask us when we were going to do the Check-out. We hardly had time to gather them in the circle before they started to, one by one, step out of the circle and telling us what they had on their mind.
One of the students, one of the rougher ones, proudly stepped out of the circle letting us know that he felt awesome seeing that he was actually really good at the things we had been doing today (and to be honest, he was right, he was awesome!)
The girl who used to rush out of the room as fast as we did this calmly walked around us hovering the floor, we could see her ears tune in as fast as someone opening said something. So when the Check-out was over, and the majority of the students had left the room I asked her if she would like to try to be a part of the Check-in the next morning, IF she just hold my arm, was quiet and stepped into the ring together with me. She said Yes. We will see how it goes in the future, but for now I have to say that it looks like this time I won against shyness 😉