Summer of Learning

Each student team was assigned an adult who helped coordinate the weekly gatherings at the library. Although we didn’t use the terminology, we ran these teams with agile principles and practices. For many of the adults, these practices required new learning. But it came naturally to the kids.

Often these Saturdays fell on beautiful summer days. And, after a winter of cold rain, these days made it even more enticing to be outside. Yet the kids kept showing up at the library. There was something special happening there and they wanted to be a part of it.

They all were stretched; there was so much to learn in order to deliver their prototypes, many of which were mobile apps of one kind or another.

One team had a middle schooler as their creative leader. He envisioned making a mobile app that would allow home gardeners to be able to list produce that they could give away to those in need. He was a painfully shy boy, but when he pitched his idea on the stage at Franklin, everyone knew he had a winner. His mom couldn’t believe it – she was profoundly touched by seeing her son begin to find his voice.

We paid the school for the use of their library that summer. We wanted this creative work to be done not outside of the school, but at its core. We wanted to see what might happen if students began to associate creative making and learning with a building they knew as a place of rules and obedience.

Teachers would occasionally stop by, wondering what we were doing. They would see their students engaged and excited about what they were learning. Some of them started asking questions. How might they begin to bring this energy into their classrooms?

At the end of this summer sprint, the student teams gathered down at a science museum, where TechFestNW, an industry conference, was being held. There, the students presented prototypes of their mobile apps. Industry professionals gathered around them and asked questions.

All seven teams delivered their prototypes.

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