CHANGEd 60-60-60: MEMORIES AND REFLECTIONS

Thinking about What if we really reflected on what former students remember? 60-60-60 #58 and reflecting…

I’ve been catching up on the Trinity-Fac&Stu folder of my GoogleReader account. I rarely let that folder go unread for as long as I have this week, but what a surprise I found this evening as I was reading last week’s posts.

Bo writes about how students remember what they craft and create. As I think about a learning experience that Trinity sixth graders will likely remember alongside their outdoor education trips and musical performances and academic experiences  from their final year at the school, at the top of the list is the QUEST and Capstone project. It’s not a coincidence that Andrew Hennessy took his sixth grade project all the way to the TEDxKIDS@BC stage in Vancouver in September 2011.

As I read the students’ memories and reflections, all of which were written upon completion of the QUEST research paper, I was struck at how almost every student spoke to one, two, or all three elements of true motivation as categorized by Dan Pink: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

We must allow students to craft and create. We certainly need more Dolphin Tale experiences and internships than we have now, but let’s not forget that even the more traditional experiences (even those research papers!) — if crafted innovatively and created with care by the lead learners in the school — can be memorable and powerful.

Check out these four reflections from sixth graders about what they’ve learned through their QUEST research experience. The reverberating sound of autonomy-mastery-purpose through these students’ words provides the perfect riff for today’s CHANGEd 60-60-60 post:

I learned many things about myself as a student through the QUEST paper. I learned that I write a good first rough draft and that I should trust that I can. I also learned that I am good at managing my time because I turn most of my long term projects in early. I also learned things about myself. I learned that I am capable of any task if I take the time and work as hard as I can. ~ Matt

As a student, I learned that i can write something cool and put a lot of effort into something in school and acquire your future talents in 6th grade. As a person I found out how to solve problems between people. My  mentor took a while to e-mail me so I took charge.~ Pete

As a student I have learned that I can be very organized. I also can be very conscientious about creating good presentation. I have also learned that I love to do hands on projects. If I set my mind to a topic that I find interesting, then I can create a good presentation. On my next project I think I will be more conscientious about my time-line. I also should plan ahead of what my goals are going to be. I will definitely bring in more analytically and organizational skills. I think through this project I have learned to always have perseverance which I will definitely use in all my assignments. ~ McKenzie

I learned that as a student I can always work better when I am really into the topic and I enjoy learning about it and working on it all of the time. I learned that I love to learn more anytime I can and I love to hear from the best people that I can so I can learn the most and learn from the best. ~ Emerson

As a student, I really realized that I work best when studying a topic I love. I also learned that doing the most boring things like writing long essays are more fun when they are about something I love. I love dogs more than words can describe, and I cannot wait for the Capstone project…Next year, I will bring the note card organization method in my ‘student tool box’ when writing papers next year. It is an excellent way of grouping the facts into topics, later to be made into paragraphs. ~ Julie

I learned different things about myself too. As a student, I feel like I learned better ways about finding information for anything and being able to figure out what is important and whats not. I also think that I learned how to stay more organized by using note cards to write down my facts. As a person, I feel like I learned to trust in myself more about what I think I should do when working on something. Second, I learned to feel more confident about my work and am better at managing my time…In the future, I think that I would change the way I researched. I would read more about the topic to make sure I am more comfortable with it. I would do this because I feel like I started the QUEST project kind of clueless about cake decorating. I wish I had known more about my topic so I would feel more comfortable about the whole thing during the beginning of the process. During this whole QUEST project I learned lots of facts, but mostly I learned about myself as a student and a learner. ~Emily

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