Energized for School


Well school is back in session.

This year is really different from the start of second semester last year because I, along with 4 partners, wasn’t freaking out about doing an example of a pitch for the rest of the 9th and 10th grade without really knowing much about giving a pitch. We also aren’t having what we called “Unschool” where we spent the first week solely working on our transdisciplinary projects that we were working on all last year.

Instead, we jumped right into things this year.

One of the things that always bugs me about coming back is when we get talked to about the overall performance on exams, but we don’t typically get the exams back to see what we missed. I think it should be required for teachers to hand back out exams, because what is the point of an assessment if the only feedback is a number? Most of the teachers are willing to show you your exam if you ask during free time, but what about the people that really didn’t understand a lot of the material on the exam, but they won’t ask? Why isn’t it required?

As I mentioned last night, I was looking forward to ID today. I must say, I was taken back a little because we ended up playing Cranium for the entire “class” (we’re a startup not a class, but we still have to confine in the school “period blocks”) period.

Don’t get me wrong, I love playing games, but I was just surprised because I felt like there was so much we needed to talk about as far as what we are doing with our currently very sad looking design studio. I think it was probably wise though for us to not try to jump in with all of that quite yet because today, we just needed to see each other and get back into the grove of our cohort.

I actually wish more of the other classes started this way. I wish school was about a little more than just the learning. School is a social environment, and our classes are large groups of people that need to work together as a team, but we don’t typically spend time just getting to know our team and our goal before we start digging into work.

I could sense after ID, that several people were just like “why did we just do that?” Some may have even thought it was a waste of time. I think it served its purpose well: saying “hey guys we just all got together for the first time in a month, let’s just get that energy back from last semester so we are ready to work on stuff.”

I think the reason not everyone might have realized that is because school doesn’t typically work that way. We come back from break full of energy, but then school is just a struggle to stay awake and remember what it is that we are suppose to have learned from the first semester. We don’t take time to get people excited and having fun together.

I don’t think taking a day to get back together is going to effect ID negatively. Some of us talked later during enrichment about how we do have plans to do a 2 week design sprint with our room, so we will be getting to work on all of those unfinished things we want to finish. Jacob and I even had a great discussion inspired by the question, “What if we could plant trees in the ocean?” (I had this question after reading The Falconer when stuff about deforestation came up.)

The conversation ended up turning into an idea about creating technology that could be used in cities like China to help get rid of pollution by using biomimicry with how tress (and other plants) use photosynthesis to create glucose from carbon dioxide. This glucose could then be used to form energy, so by making the environment cleaner, you would also produce needed energy in a form other than natural gasses.

This idea hasn’t been developed a ton, but we had researched here and there along our brainstorming and found out that MIT has done some similar work.

While that was a little bit of a tangent, my point is that spending time building a solid team that is energized and engaged, is not time wasted because it is not taking place without learning.

How might we get all students energized to be back in school?


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