*NOTE* Originally published on my tutoring site, MisterAcostaTeaches. Republished here for reevaluation.
Don’t let summer break fool you. The most dedicated teachers are taking their summers and planning out changes to their rooms for the coming year. After my first year of teaching 5th grade (a disaster worthy of any name), I spent all summer doing two things: playing Final Fantasy XIII on my X-Box 360, all the while sitting with a notebook next to me, writing down everything I wanted to fix and everything new I wanted to bring to my classroom.
So what does that mean for you, the educator here today? Well, teachers are blessed with the perfect reset button: Summer. Doesn’t matter how the previous year went, doesn’t matter if your big class science project bombed, or if your teacher evaluation score was a little lower than you wanted, once June and July arrive, it’s a new save file and new chance to start over.
Over this summer, I’m going to discuss changes or alterations you can consider bringing to your room. The first? Chaos.
Imagine a room full of student groups, centered around 6-8 kids per group, working on a project of some kind. It could be an art project, storytelling project, science experiment, or mathematical exploration. With little to no teacher guidance, the students are instructed to somehow produce a result for the assignment that can be viewed as “complete.” As described in The Learner’s Way article:
Take a step back from the noise and you can see ideas begin to emerge.
Each group of ten or twelve students begins to explore what it is they need to achieve and an understanding of the possibilities of the task emerges. The noise starts to come in stops and starts.
Leaders begin to emerge and bring order to the mess. Ideas worth further exploration bubble forth while others slip out of the way.
From the chaos merges a sense of order.
Leaders begin to emerge. Roles are defined. From chaos, emerges order. Sounds messy, right? I suppose when you just want your student(s) to create a poster explaining a part of a book, this seems a little too raw and unrefined. But, there is always an ultimate goal while teaching: How does this apply to the real world?
If you make your students aware of the fact that in the real world collaborative creativity happens regularly, they’ll take to the learning with greater aplomb. It might not be easy, and some teacher influence might be needed (Like, if a student goes on a massive power trip and tries banning a student to the hallway. Don’t ask. It happened to me only once.), but to gain some order, it’s best to suffer through a little chaos.
Figure out how to incorporate a little Collaborative Creativity into your room. You might love the disorganization it brings.
Hello. Me in the present. So how does this apply to writing?
We maybe get to caught up with the order we bring to our lives in writing. There has to be outlines, processes, systems in place. Maybe going at it gung-ho, and trying to figure it out on the fly is what you’re supposed to do? This keeps you on your feet, aloof, always trying new methods to write stories.
That’s partly why I’m trying this 100 Day of Blogging. I used to write 3 blogs a week. Then down to 1. Now, every day? And it’s chaotic. I’m cracking these blogs out minutes before I have to go to sleep just to hit my daily deadline. It’s crazy. But I’ve hit it.
Mix things up if you need to.
See what you’re capable of when it comes to finding your way out of the creative chaos.
Thanks for reading,