I had an interesting experience today. One of my epiphanies! I often hear colleagues say “it’s about the process, not the product” and I know I say that as well. Today I really had to come to terms with the reality of that statement and my belief system as far as that goes. My kinders were grouped with their water buddies to work on a water conservation project. Half of the class met with their buddies in our kinder room and the other half went upstairs and met in their 3rd grade water buddies’ room. Both groups had a similar agenda. We showed a short
video about water conservation and then explained what they needed to do on their planner before using the Sock Puppet App.
The kinders worked with their buddies; most were grouped in pairs, with one triad. They brainstormed three and four ideas about saving water and then chose one tip for the puppet show. Many of the 3rd graders were familiar with the app and all were excited to make the puppet show with their buddies. And then the glitches roared their ugly heads: from writing scripts for the puppets, giving the kinders an opportunity to participate in expressing what they wanted to say, to the inevitable iPad snafus! Some of the students needed more teacher support in coming up with ideas and writing them on the planner. Many of the groups really worked well together and but others were more about the silliness. The reality of shared projects! In the short time we had, most were able to jot down ideas for saving water, come up with one tip, write the script, choose puppets, background and make their puppet show. Pretty amazing, wouldn’t you say, since it was all about the process and not the product! And here is my dilemma. In my heart I truly believe the process, the camaraderie and enjoyment the students exhibited was rewarding and validated multi-age/grade interactions. But I want to share my frustration with our procedure, so maybe not the process:
1. The short time we had.
2. The expectations of completing all the steps before getting to the app,
3. The realization that we didn’t have had the kinders explore the app before working with their 3rd grade buddies.
4. The planner not shared with all the students before hand
So in hindsight these are some of the steps, I feel, that are needed for this activity:
1. Meet with buddies to see the video, brainstorm ideas for conserving water on the planner
2. Choose water conservation “tip” for puppet show
3. Write script
Then at another gathering work on the app:
1. Make sure iPads are set to go (sound is set)
2. Buddies choose puppets, background (whatever students decide will enhance their show)
3. Read/rehearse script and have fun with the app!
To be truthful, I think the buddies really enjoyed the experience. They do love being together and I have seen how they seek each other out on the school yard. Another thought, as I think and write about this afternoon: this was a last minute fill in, when our plan to have a presentation from a local organization that works to clean up the ocean waters near us fell through. We all wanted to have the water buddies meet again and one of our wonderful 3rd grade teachers came up with this idea. She is an incredible educator who is willing to embrace innovation and technology. But with time constraints and very little time for the adults to meet and discuss the new plans we all just “went for it.” So what have I learned from this experience, because reflection is where the learning moves forward, is to breathe and know that perfect rarely if ever happens. As I have shared, I see where and how the glitches occurred and hope to have more opportunities for our water buddies to work together and produce a Sock Puppet PSA on water conservation. I need to remember to enjoy the process: the failures and successes.
Is this discomfort something you are okay with? How have activities that have been less than stellar impacted your learning and teaching?