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LREI 5th Graders
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"Learning by doing"
We are a group of fifth graders from New York City who go to a progressive school where creativity is an important part of our experience. We are excited to learn along side all of the participants in this challenege
Christopher will be posting some comments and video of our session soon. In the context of our session (lots going on in a small space), the more free form games went better (e.g., acting out a scene, making something from trash, etc.). The ones that were a bit more structured were a bit harder. However, I think that if those games had been played without so much going on, their players would have had an easier time. So context can really matter for creative expression.
Our students had great fun playing a subset of the games last week. Most of the games felt more than appropriate for a school setting. That said, having 40 kids playing upwards of 10 games in two rooms generated a fair amount of productive buzz and some mess. So that requires a school culture that can see the learning value in an activity like this and kids who are more than happy to clean up at the end. Luckily, both of those were true for us.
With smaller numbers, things would be quite manageable. I could see a teacher folding many of the games into a subject-specific class by "breaking the rules" to help the game reinforce a skill or area of content that the group is exploring (e.g., all of the skits need to be about gravity).
I could also see using the Play Portal in our advisory program, which could connect playing to goal setting and helping students to play around in areas that they want to strengthen. Our kids maintain digital portfolios (edublogs via wordpress) so it would be great if there was any easy way to embed progress/badges from Play Portal into their blogs. Playing the games in advisory would also be a way to help group members to connect with each other.
Thanks so much for asking our group to join your team. Our students have been excited and engaged by this challenge from day one. At the same time, they were a little disappointed that none of their concepts made the shortlist. That disappointment disappeared when you reached out to us. In some ways, that was a more valuable lesson than having one of their concepts selected. They realized that through engagement and connection, ideas can lead to action though not always as one had intended.
We are looking forward to doing some brainstorming this week and playing some games next week as we work together to refine The Play Portal.
I thought that the following, which guide our daily work in our school might be of some inspiration in our work together:
Where authentic learning grows out of the complex interplay of curiosity and purpose, creativity and play, and the child’s innate drive to make sense of the world.
Our students learn from experience, and from the critical reflection, practical application and creative transformation of experience into authentic understanding and personal knowledge.
And from our founder Elisabeth Irwin:
“The complacent formalism of schools, its uncritical and therefore uncreative spirit, must be replaced by an honest hospitality to experimentation.”