365 Days of Earrings

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Collecting in search of inspiration


A colleague recently asked me what method I use when I attack a project. I'm in the midst of many right now, getting ready for school to start next week. So I've been analyzing my thought processes, thinking about perspiration vs. inspiration, considering the ratio of planning to plunging.

When I approach a task, like making a bulletin board to display the birthdays of the members of our Lower School community, I take my time. I look for inspiration. This year, I found it in a box of sticky-foam sea creatures--on sale, of course. Then I begin to gather other stuff, to explore systems of organization, to seek clarity while encouraging problem solving.

On this bulletin board, I enlisted the creativity of my former student, Addie, who joined me in arranging the animals. We agreed that no sharks should threaten other vulnerable sea creatures, although a lone first grade shark can be seen eyeing our principal in the April zone. Tomorrow, we'll tinker some more.

While that project is percolating through my brain, I'm also working on many others as I prepare for school's opening next week. I read a lot of theories about multi-tasking, pro and con. I'm pro. Bouncing from project to project keeps my mind alert and creative. Sticking with one project zaps spontaneous bursts of inspiration.

I finally decided how to introduce our first Third Grade writing project, "If I could be an animal, I would be ...." Tinkering from year to year is a great opportunity to improve a project while maintaining my own enthusiasm. I never do exactly the same thing twice. Today, after looking at an empty green bulletin board for over a week, I finally began to tack things up. My students' work will fill the voids.

Today I also attacked my class' place-based education project. Each child adopts a campus tree to study for the year. I wore a pair of maple leaf earrings for the occasion, a gift from my husband years ago. I finished my scavenger hunt cards and my campus tree map.

So, after a day of trying to observe my inner workings, I've decided on this:
Step 1: Research, collect materials, consult experts: devise a variety of plans in search of inspiration
Step 2: As deadlines become pressing: choose an inspiration, plunge in!
Step 3: Create a web that ties many threads together. Keep searching for inspiration.
Step 3: Perspire until the job is done.

Which step do I enjoy most? I love them all.

1 comment:

K├Ąthe said...

I like the breakdown of your steps! Each with it's own joy and flexibility, while working toward that AWESOME end result! I LOVE the birthday bulletin board!