Working effectively in teams is an important life skill. We often hear college administrators and employers bemoan the lack of ability in this area. This week, we are teaching the students the latest research on how different work personalities can work together most effectively. Day one students learned about Marathoners vs. Sprinters vs. Procrastinators.
Marathoners: Marathoners like to start early, and do a little bit of work each day. They like to have plenty of time. They dislike tight deadlines. They are slow and steady, and do their best work when they have plenty of time. Pro: They get it done without a lot of stress. Con: Marathoners may freak out if given a tight deadline. They may get frustrated with the other two types.
Sprinters: Sprinters love the intensity of the crunch and deadline. They like to start late and rush to completion. If they start too early, they lose interest, momentum, and waste time. They do their best most creative work with adrenaline, and it works fine for them to work to a tight deadline. Pro: Sprinters are great under pressure. Con: Sprinters can stress out those around them by waiting until last minute.
Procrastinators: Procrastinators delay starting work, but unlike sprinters who like working under a tight deadline, procrastinators really wish they had started earlier. Procrastinators don't do their best work under that much pressure. They feel anxious when they haven't started, and once they start the project they feel less anxious and then happy to finish. Their challenge is to get over the hump of starting, and then they will feel better. Not much pro to this one, but things can work out fine if they can transition to starting.
How they interact: Marathoners are driven crazy by sprinters who haven't started to work yet, and sprinters feel like the marathoners are wasting time starting so early. There can be frustration with procrastinators if they can't get over the hump of starting. All three of these styles need deadlines. If you are working with a sprinter, know they will get better work done closer to the deadline. If you are working with a procrastinator, you may need to help them get over the hump of starting. Say, let's meet and do x to get started, and then keep making them accountable along the way.
For the rest of the week, students continue to reflect and share on work tendencies: whether they are a Starter vs. Finisher, whether they prefer A Lot vs. Little Stimulation (auditory and visual) when they work, and whether they are a Rule Follower, a Questioner, or a Rebel. They learn skills for managing their work personality most effectively, and how to work well with others of different styles.
And as usual, we don't like teaching things in a vacuum. Children are given the real life challenge of working with a team on creating a company, and applying what they are learning about working well with different work personalities. Here we see a multi-age team working hard on the backboard of their company for the day the store opens. Please keep a look out for an email about your site's My Company Day - and go spend the pretend Workshop money on some incredible items - buy local!!!
One of the requests from parents when planning the 2016-17 enrichment class curriculum was to help their students handle academic stress, particularly stress brought on by perfectionism. The past week in our Study Skills enrichment classes, students learned how to realistically look at pros and cons of different academic situations. Even when something positive happens, like getting a 100% on a test, a student can still end up quite stressed depending on how they view future pressures. We try to use real life examples such as the one illustrated above to develop practical real life skills!
In Innovation Workshop enrichment classes this past week, children created their own dough. The challenge? No recipe, just ingredients. We want students to experiment and observe the results carefully to figure out the impact of each ingredient. We believe experimenting really means designing and testing - not just following step by step instructions. Students learned to create workable dough by trial and error and create something unique from it - working on 3D spatial skills in the process.
This past week at Study Skills enrichment classes, we learned how to succeed with larger long term projects. We discussed preventative measures regarding teamwork and pacing to make sure they go smoothly. We compared what works best with mistakes we have made. We learned that making mini-deadlines to create a smaller sense of urgency helps. We also learned that choosing project partners who have been trustworthy is important. If you don't have a choice of partners, stating and enforcing expectations early on can prevent the "one person does all the work" lament. Younger children got a look ahead for handling larger projects.
This past week in our Innovation enrichment classes was special as students worked on Writer's Workshop, which was the philosophical inspiration for Workshop Education. Students got the chance to build the muscle of creativity by facing blank pages and turning them into books. They shared their books at Featured Authors, and heard what their classmates felt were strengths, as well as questions and suggestions about their work.
This past week in Study Skills enrichment classes, the class practiced active reading techniques with an amazing nonfiction piece called the The Secret Life of Trees. The strategies are from Mosaic of Thought,The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction which researched the techniques that the most successful readers use. Students practiced highlighting, making text to text and text to self connections, as well as drawing to actively summarize what they were learning. Older children modeled this for younger children as needed.
In our Innovation Workshop enrichment classes, students at all of the eight Workshop locations tackled the same design challenge - how to best welcome new students to Workshop classes. Students remembered their first day to gain empathy. They brainstormed, created prototypes, and got feedback from their class for their ideas. The students will be testing their ideas on new students.
Last week, for Study Skills Workshop enrichment classes, we did experiments and took quizzes to see if we were more visual or auditory learners, and then learned tips for ways to study depending on how our brains work best.
Last week in Innovation Workshop enrichment classes, we designed and created a class coloring book. Each class decided who to share the coloring books with - most choosing a hospital where sick children might want to use them to relax.
Northstar did something different last week, and piloted our unit for this current week. It is Workshop Design Challenge at all eight sites to design a better way to welcome new students into Workshop.