255 approved applications. 255 excited kids ready to start working on projects they chose, on topics they care about, and under their own direction. They are excited. Excited about learning. How great is that!? Really, if that was our goal, we’d be done! And it wouldn’t have been a bad goal, to get nearly half of our students excited to learn. We could probably have let the project run its course and slept well when it was over.
But the truth is, there is a loftier goal. We have to aspire to more than just excitement about learning. We want Innovation Week to be more than a week of excited kids. We want Innovation Week to be some of the best learning these kids have ever experienced. We want Innovation Week to be some of the best learning that has ever taken place inside the walls of Greystone Centennial Middle School. You see, if we want education to move forward, its projects like this that can help that happen. We need to show the public that amazing things can happen when we break free from the old routines and tired practices. If we ever want to get away from prescribed curriculum and standardized tests, its not enough to complain, we have to provide alternatives. Projects like Innovation Week and others like it, (see here and here) help us build our case for change and for a better way.
So this coming week, even though our students have been given the chance to choose their project, plan their learning and direct their own activities, it will be us, their teachers, that will guide them towards deeper learning. We will push them to get the most out of the week, challenge them to take their projects further and help them find the real learning that exists in the week.
Imagine! Students choosing to learn about what they are interested in, and teachers there to guide them to quality learning experiences. Maybe we might be on to something…