Iteration is at the core of every project – starting with an idea, taking notes, putting out a draft, revising, looking for edits, incorporating new ideas, creating another version. It’s a process at the heart of Brightworks’ project-based learning, but has so far been a difficult process to exemplify and make clear to our students. An iteration of exploring a project’s process is Mackenzie’s latest contribution to making learning visible for her Hawks.
She writes, “When we talk about the Brightworks graduate, we imagine a person who approaches problems with curiosity, vigor and thoughtfulness. But how do we impart these qualities and values?
“To create more self awareness and intention around project work, I think a standard language for the steps of project work is important so that the kids can reflect on what they have done and perhaps anticipate what steps they may need to take in the future… To impart this idea that the stages of project work aren’t linear but can be identified Josh made some beautiful cards!
“In the past weeks the kids have been working side by side on a common project: build chairs for our classroom. My not-so-secret-agenda in doing this as a group is to give them the tools of project work they will need later in the year.
The story of this chair project is unfolding along the outside wall of our band space. [Yesterday] we took some time to reflect on the different stages of project work. Then we set [the kids] loose on the documentation walls with their project cards in hand to identify as many stages as possible.”
The Hawks discovered that their “simple” task of creating chairs isn’t so simple at all! They were excited to find that it’s filled with careful considerations and thoughtful next steps – and plenty of drafts and edits. Next week they will learn some new skills and draft yet another iteration of their chairs – something that Mackenzie knows will astonish them with their own abilities and help reinforce that the steps that creating something takes are important and ultimately worth doing.