Before I started posting blogs on the Extreme Creativity site, I was writing them on our team’s collaboration website for the parents to read. I’m posting a few of them here as well:
October 7, 2011: Off to a good start!
We’ve had 2 meetings so far, plus a skills workshop. The first meeting we played a quiz game to test the kids’ knowledge of the challenge, and they did fairly well. Those who hadn’t studied the challenge as much took their break time to polish up on it and came back strong in the second half of the game! The second meeting the kids selected 6 topics that interest them, and researched 3 of them (the other 3 will be researched this week). We are so happy to have these kids back in our home for another fun-filled year of learning and growing together!
November 6, 2011: Determining team goals and criteria to meet those goals; Wrapping up initial research
The team members determined that their goals this year include a healthy balance of work and fun, with an ultimate goal of placing in the top 10 at the State tournament. We Team Managers shared with them what we learned at Team Manager Training yesterday about what it takes to “think like an appraiser” and present a solution that is likely to get them to their goal. They seemed to agree that building the foundation, then adding creative enhancements on top of a solid foundation would be a good tactic to get what they want out of this year.
The team finished initial research on one of their two key topics today and presented a skit depicting some of the things they have learned about. We definitely got the sense they weren’t as happy about their research on the second topic as they were about the first. Two of the kids asked to stay late to do some more research. We are very proud of that initiative!
November 12, 2011: Play-in-a-Day!
I am so impressed with the research and planning Chad, my co-team-manager and dear husband, put in to preparing to have the DI team at our house for the whole day off from school on Friday. He had them moving and learning and having fun non-stop, and by the end of the day when I was able to join them, only a few kids had the wiggles and they easily got them out of their system by running around the block.
He started the day with an instant challenge where they had to create a 20-second play. They assessed their performance against the “Think Like an Appraiser” poster we made last week… starting with whether their 20-second play suffered from any of the “distractions” and then assessing themselves on the foundation and above. Then they enhanced their play to be 40 seconds with more detail. Then 60 seconds… you get the drift. They really seemed to understand how to apply the “appraiser” criteria to their performances.
After a nice long lunch with play time to burn off their energy, they started the second half of the day by working with a team parent to build creative costumes out of every-day stuff like trash bags, popsicle sticks, bubble wrap, and, of course, duct tape. Each kid had a character assignment and had to find a creative way to depict that character using these common materials.
The last part of the afternoon was an “official” team meeting where the kids spent some time focusing on their challenge. They listed out interesting aspects of the topics they have researched, then did some comparing and contrasting to find key themes they think they could work with in their solution. It was wonderful to see the team be able to ebb and flow with each other – some kids taking a turn at focusing on the task at hand while others ran around the block, then those who had burned out their extra energy coming back in to help with a fresh set of eyes and ears.
November 19, 2011: Building skills to define a setting
Only 4 of our team members could attend the meeting today, so we avoided making any decisions that were more appropriate for the whole team. Not sure if that was the right choice (since I’m sure we’ll have many meetings over the year when not everyone is present), but we gave it a try.
We focused on using all 5 senses to describe a setting. First, we presented the team with a few items and had them use their senses to describe: a hard hat, an old book, and a Japanese fan. They didn’t actually taste any of these items, but they imagined what they would taste like if they did! Second, we asked the team to come up with a detailed setting description for Thanksgiving. They treated us to not only very detailed descriptions of the smells and tastes of the food, but also things like the feel of the floor beneath their feet and the sounds of family conversations.
Finally, we focused on a detailed description of the setting for their Central Challenge. This took more effort, since none of the kids has ever experienced something similar. They grabbed their research material and each kid reviewed a different book or article to find details about the setting. They found some interesting information, but struggled with the time frame used in the information – weren’t sure if their Central Challenge was going to take place in that time frame or not. That’s a decision for the next meeting when everyone is present!