Thursday, March 2, 2017

Create, Build, Wonder

I have a new job this year.  I didn't ask for the job.  I was asked to do the job.  I think the world of my principal, so how could I say no?  I am always up for an adventure or a challenge, depending on how you look at it.  :)
The most exciting (and terrifying) thing about my job is that I was able to create it.  There wasn't an existing curriculum.  No one had ever done it before.  It was up to me.  When I took the job I had no idea what I would do with it.  I decided that I wanted to incorporate passion projects, technology and stem.
As the year began and I tried to sit down to do some planning, I just couldn't think of what the children might love.  I had some ideas of course, but planning for 520 kids ages 5 through 11 made it quite a challenge.  I was used to knowing my students, their likes, interests, strengths and needs.  I didn't know how to teach children that I didn't know.  So the plan became just to begin and see where it went.
The kids were able to choose any passion project that they wanted.  The buzz in the room was amazing!  Some kids were sewing, while others were learning magic tricks, guitar, keyboard, diy projects and coding to name a few.  I didn't have to know everything that they were doing.  I only needed the desire to learn, which I did.  I became very clever about how to get materials too.  Once people hear about what you are doing, and that the kids are excited, people in the community are very willing to donate materials.  I didn't get any corporate sponsors.  I just had to put it out into the universe and things would show up in my classroom.
At some point, some of the kids were ready to move on to something else.  After talking to several kids, I decided to start JW Wonders.  They all loved Wonderopolis so we decided to put out our own website to share what we were learning.  You can check it out at
Now I am at the point where some kids want to wonder while others are ready for something else.  I decided not to throw the baby out with the bath water, so we continue our wondering, but we also have a creativity challenge and a stem challenge.
I am so happy with the things that the children are doing.  I think that creating and stem and time to wonder are all important parts of a child's life.  I was observing a student building the other day for the stem challenge.  He told me that he feels like stem is so cool because he loves physics and he loves to think about all the things that could effect his structure as he builds.  I love what I do and my cup is full every day.

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