Do you ever read a book, or see a piece of art that just speaks to your soul?
Sometimes, we view thoughts or ideas that we connect to because we find them inspirational . We constantly refer back to them throughout our days, and think about them naturally during conversations. For me, personally, it is poetry. Poetry has a way of finding it’s way to the core of my being and I not only memorize them, but I aspire to reflect them.
This aspiration is what I intend to achieve in the kids that spend their days at Discovery; my goal is to inspire. We have recently launched our new Makerspace and while we housed all the necessary tools and materials, I was finding the kids were at a bit of a loss when it came to being inspired to create. I made design challenge cards, and printed our numerous cues with design ideas on them, from “Build a robot you could use to clean your room” to “Make a tower that resembles the CN Tower.” I had implemented visual and verbal cues which I thought would be enough.
It soon became clear that I needed more visuals, as I myself am a visual learner and appreciate tangible photos or even videos of how to create. I printed off 30 photos of inspiration that were a combination of actual creations we had made in the Makerspace, as well as ideas others have created (thank you Google). Rather than placing the photos in a binder or photo book, I posted them on the wall, at child height.
The first day we hosted more children at Discovery, it was obvious these photos were working wonders.
Kids were inspired instantaneously and rather than completing my plans for the day, they were inspired to create, design, and to become engineers with blueprints ready for their use. All the kids wanted to use was a large cardboard box, and materials in the classroom. They began to form an idea together, based on the inspiration wall and got straight to work. It’s funny sometimes, how as educators, we critique ourselves or our spaces more than necessary.
I would like these photos to be posted nicely on a bulletin or white board, for them to be categorized into sections and to be labelled. Perhaps I will still change things around, but this wall, as is, works entirely as I had hoped it would. Kids didn’t use these photos to make exact replicas, they used it purely as a pathway from inspiration to imagination, followed by creation.
After all, as Albert Einstein once said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” If I can inspire kids to put their wild imaginations to work, then I see it as nothing short of a win.