I was reminded of this recently in my work. After spending hours listening to stakeholders & working on a project, we were finally able to sit down and make some great progress! Why? Well, along with getting lots of input, we were able to get out of the office, be free from distractions, and take the time to really explore the "problem" and all of the people it affected. I felt like we were so productive, precisely because the pressure was off, and we were free to dream and explore.
Transfer these concepts to the classroom...
Getting out of the office - Sometimes, all it takes to spark creativity is a change of scenery. How can you change the environment for your students? Could you go outside, move furniture around your classroom, or redecorate?
Be free from distractions - Distractions and interruptions are all around us. How can we teach our kids to focus in the midst of them? Additionally, are there distractions that we could remove? I am so guilty of giving my kids a block of time to work, then interrupting it with an announcement or question. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is let our kids get into their own "flow".
Take the time to explore - How often do we give students the time and freedom to think deeply? In my experience, not enough. I think this is why I love the idea of passion projects, genius hour, or 20time (whatever you want to call it). It gives kids the time & freedom to pursue their own ideas without a prescribed solution or "right" answer from teachers. Are our days filled to the brim with content, or are we giving students the time to think on their own?
Of course, we do have plenty of constraints in the classroom. But how can we keep students from feeling the pressure of those constraints? How can we build in the time to allow them to move, focus, learn, explore, innovate, and solve the problems they see in the world?
How can we afford not to?
How do you give students time & freedom in your class? Please leave a comment with your ideas!