Thinking about What is we designed and experimented more in schools? 60-60-60 #20 and reflecting…

Transitioning from one meeting to another late this morning, a fourth grade teacher grabbed me in the hall and asked if I had a couple minutes. In the moment, my desire to be on time to my next meeting wasn’t as strong as my curiosity.

“Sure,” I said.

I walked into a classroom, not knowing what to expect. It was rather quiet for a gathering of 40 fourth grade students. All were seated with eyes focused on Lee H., who was standing in the front of the room, a bit nervous but certainly excited.

After a brief introduction and explanation by Lee, we all sat and listened to the production that this young designer-creator-producer had made. His design-creation-production, based on the fourth grade simulated journey westward on the Oregon Trail, was an example of fourth graders’ independent work during a social studies unit where students are encouraged to uncover their passions and use their strengths in projects. The teachers honor many students’ unique work throughout the simulated arduous journey westward, but this example is one that garnered great accolades from both teachers and students.

In his #20 post, Bo references a school-wide musical gala and iPad concerto (new soundtracks), a multi-school design summit which focused on empathy and prototypes (3D renderings), and a MIT robot (cultural cyborgs).  As a songwriter, digital composer, and 21st century musician, fourth grader Lee embodies incredible characteristics that, in my opinion, get us closer to imagining the “what if” associated with Bo’s three-ring-circus-vision-of-school.

The immediate feedback Lee received from his classmates was an interesting assessment of his work. I recorded students’ reactions — and their enthusiasm and support of Lee as designer-creator-producer speaks for itself:

“My comment is more of a suggestion: You should put it on our class page.”

“That was ahhhhhmazing!”

“I think you are really good at singing…really really good.”

“Since you are so good at singing, I think you should try out for the Atlanta Boy Choir. You’d like it.”

“Have you thought about putting it on iTunes? You should.”

“I have a question and comment: first, that’s really, really, really awesome. Next, where is the software from?”

“When you get famous as a singer, will you remember wagon train and say that this was your start?”

“One word: whoa!”


**I used Lee’s original mp3 to create an iMovie, using Lee’s “wagon train family” picture as the anchor in order to share it in this space. I suspect that Lee may want to put his words and music to pictures or possibly a video in the future. If he does, I’ll be sure to post it here, as it’ll certainly provide fodder for an additional “What If” post.


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