Monday, September 30, 2013

20% Time, Day 4: It Starts to Come Together

So day 4 of 20% time is done and projects are starting to come together. Students who had project ideas initially have had time to play with those ideas and shape them into something that fulfills the 20% time project requirements. The folks who didn’t have ideas - or said they didn’t have ideas - have realized that in fact they are interested in things. Which, you know, is good.

Teachers talked about doing their own 20% project in class as the kids worked on their projects. As the first three days of 20% time unfolded, things were chaotic. I spent every day running around answering questions for 50 minutes. Which was fine. But chaotic. I didn’t see how I was going to be able to spend any time in class working on a 20% project.

Well, this week I spent a lot less time answering questions. Kids are starting to know what direction their project is going in. Which is, you know, a GREAT thing. And as I had time to breathe for the first time on a 20% time day last Friday, I began to wonder if I too would have the time to do a 20% project with my kids. I know I want to. No idea what I’d do it on. But that’s part of the process!

I’ve given the go-ahead to about 10 projects to go and get started - these individuals or groups have written up their proposals and they are ready to go. And they’re excited.

I’ll leave the last word to the kids:

Student #1: I have never been more excited about a project in my life. I really hope I’m able to do this. I’ve always been interested in music, but this summer, I went to a concert at Stanford and these seven twenty year olds wrote and arranged original songs and they were the most beautiful things I’d ever heard. Everyone in the audience was straight up head bobbing and jamming and crying. But seriously, though - that’s the point of music, to take a feeling and convey it to the audience. I’d like to attempt to do that, especially when it’s for a good cause.

Student #2: I can’t even express to you how excited I am about my project. This is an issue that’s really close to my heart because I know a lot of people on a personal level who self harm and struggle to find the things that make life worthwhile. It’s exciting for me to even think about creating a product that could help them, and people like them. Because being sad sucks. Especially when you don’t know how to make the sadness go away. I want to do everything in my power to help lighten the sadness on personal levels (my music) and on a more technical level (the money donations). It’s also exciting because writing music about a certain focused topic will help me grow as a writer and a musician because it takes me out of my comfort zone.