Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Eureka Moment!

Our kids are still working on coming up with great ideas for their Genius Hour projects. When I surveyed the kiddos the other day, about half knew what they wanted to do while the other half was still searching. Melissa and I learned years ago that the idea is the key to the projects. If a kiddo is cavalier about the idea, then the project will flop. The project must center around an idea that the student is passionate about. We're looking for that "Eureka Moment". For instance, a few students told me that their idea this year was "fundraising". When I asked what they would be raising funds for, they had no idea. Their project did not have a purpose. We talked about the purpose behind the idea and I think that these kids understood. They may or may not continue along the fundraising track. They will consider the purpose of their project more carefully now.

Since the Bad Idea Factory, we have done a couple of exercises to help kids dig down to their real interests and passions. One survey asks kids questions like, "What are a few things that you have always wanted to do physically that you have not been able to do yet?" and "What are a few things that you have always wanted to learn about but have not had the opportunity yet?" When kids think in these terms, about things they'd like to learn or accomplish, instead of an idea for a project, then the idea they come up with should be more meaningful to them. 

This past week, we did a sharing exercise. Kids grouped up and interviewed each other about their project idea. I was hoping that when the kiddos talked about their ideas, there would be conversation around those ideas and brainstorming would occur. Sharing ideas often leads to more and better ideas. I think that happened in several cases during this exercise. I also had the kids browse the Bad Idea Factory. There are so many good ideas, or ideas that could lead to good ideas, on the wall. I had kids write down all of the ideas that they liked. Needless to say, kids turned in lists that features about a half dozen ideas each. The purpose of our idea exploration session was to expose kids to all kinds of ideas. Who knows, maybe an idea that they talk about or see will lead them to the idea that will ultimately become their project. We know that will only happen if we talk about ideas, share ideas and expose kids to as many ideas as possible. Only through a deep dig into each child's passions combined with exposure to lots of ideas will kids ever reach their "Eureka Moment". 

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