An Idea that is Emerging

I don't usually give homework on the weekends (to be truthful, I don't like giving homework at all, but external.... well, you get it).  This weekend though, I changed it up a little and tried something new.  My instructions were incredibly simple, very clear, yet at the same time, incredibly confusing.  In their homework agendas, I asked them to write this simple task:


I had no idea what would happen.  They asked me what I meant, what they should do, can I give more clarification, what does that mean?  I resisted the urge to give ideas, and told them that the task was pretty self explanatory.  Just make something.

Well, Monday morning rolls around I go outside to pick up the kids as they stand in line and wait for me.  All of them, the whole class, is standing there in line with boxes, and shopping bags, and folders, and photos.  They are enthusiastically waving their creations at me trying to get my attention.  Sometimes, the things that children can come up on their own accord just floors me.  Here is how they interpreted my task (this is grade 5/6);

  • A cereal box cut open with origami furniture inside

  • A two foot tall robot made of paper cups and duct tape

  • A shoe box turned into a car, complete with rotating wheels and circuits/batteries inside for the headlights!

  • A stunningly beautiful paper art piece of a woman walking a dog (she said it took her 4 hours)

  • Photos of Moving Light (you open the shutter on the lens and move a flashlight in patterns and then when you develop the photo, the light all appears)

  • A Lego Ship that the child tried to make float with Styrofoam

Wow.  They could have taken the easy way out, drawn a simple picture and be done with it.  But they didn't.  They took time, they got involved in what they were doing, and they were proud of it.  This is something I will certainly try again next weekend.  I am already thinking of how we can display our creations to the school.  I don't want to impose any structure on it, because I don't want to kill the creativity.  I will just let it ride, and see what emerges from the journey.

The best thing about this activity was that the majority of them (not all) said they did the project with one of (or both!) their parents.  As a parent myself, I can think of no better way to spend my weekend than by making something with my child.  It so much more than just a shoe box car, it is a moment spent with loved ones, a memory that will last longer than cardboard.

PS - I would post pictures, but I forgot my camera



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