By Barbara Soblo
Well, the honeymoon period is definitely over. The new clothes and supplies aren’t so new, the novelty of high school is becoming routine, and Studio D 9 is ramping up the expectations! Part of what makes our program so innovative and out of the box, is our focus on quality work over quantity. Doing multiple drafts is the norm in our class. But getting students to dig deep to create that quality requires a very different classroom vibe.
Students know quality when they see it and when they produce it. The scary part for a teacher is that getting to quality can take a lot of time! Our first mini design challenge (what will your one sentence legacy be?) finally got to the Go! stage on Friday. For two weeks, students have designed a single sentence that captures who they are; a sentence that goes deep into their core and really captures their complexities using imagery, metaphor and words that carry multiple meanings. Friday they submitted their final work for grading; our job is now to print & post them before open house Thursday.
In the Gather stage, students listed adjectives about themselves; don’t select words that describe what you do, but describe who you are. During the Glean stage, students boiled their list down to essentials elements. In the Generate and Gauge stages, students wrote their sentence and through several feedback sessions, the sentences changed into something wall worthy. Both teachers & students focused the critique on three things: word choice, flow, and pizazz. Students presented orally both in small groups & to the entire class. I got goosebumps when a sentence really hit the mark. But them react to the quality created by their peers really blew me away. These kids were mostly strangers some 15 days ago, and they were baring their souls to each other & asking for feedback.
The assignment is so simple- write a sentence about you- but in Studio D we don’t do simple. Here we begin embracing the ideals we’ll build on all year. That here we support & push each other in order to create something we can all be proud to put out in the community. That feedback must be given & received in the spirit of striving to make the work better. It’s exciting to be watch their brains switch on as they begin to understand more about Studio D and what we do.
But the work has only just begun because our first big design challenge starts on Monday.