Innovation Days

Last year, our school participated in Identity Day.  Every member of our school community: all students and all staff, created an Identity Day Project.  The projects represented something about who they were as individuals. The projects could have represented something about their life, something they liked, or something they were passionate about. You get the idea. You can read more about my Identity Day Project here and see a video of other Identity Day Projects here.

It was powerful to learn about all the members of our school. I learned things about our staff that I had no idea about and which I likely would not have learned if we did not participate in this project together.  I learned things about each of our students as well.  Our teachers also expressed that they learned things about their students (present and past) that they had not known in the past. In an inner-city school where the development of relationships are paramount, this was such an amazing, powerful community builder!

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This year, some of our teaching staff planned Innovation Day for our entire school community. One of the lessons we learned from our Identity Day last year was that there just was not enough time in one day to visit and show all of the projects in our large school.  So, this year, it was decided to have one day for Primary Innovation Day and one day for Intermediate Innovation Day.   

A notice, written by one of our classroom teachers (Monica Noakes), was sent home to students discussing Innovation Day and what that would entail.    Included in the notice, in part, was:

Children have such varied interests:  drawing, sewing, science, music, photography, cooking, designing, modeling . . . and the list goes on.  The students may use their imaginations to create so many different things!  There are, however, some criteria that must be followed.

  1.   Students may work alone or with a partner.
  2.   Projects must be sized so that they could fit on a desk top.
  3.   Use common household or recycled materials.
  4.   Limit of $5.00 for any additional purchases.
  5.   Include a sketch or drawing of the prototype.
  6.   Create a name for the invention or innovation.
  7.   Be able to demonstrate how the invention/innovation works.

A couple of our primary staff designed a schedule for our primary classes and a couple intermediate teachers planned the schedule for the intermediate classes. The schedules were similar and followed this outline:

8:30-9:30 – Students set up their projects in their classrooms and demonstrated their projects to their parents. Parents assisted in the set up, when needed.

9:30-10:15 – Primary/Intermediate students rotate amongst their peers (another specific schedule outlined which class remained in their classes and which classes visited).

Recess – 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:45 – More visiting, if needed.

Lunch – 11:45 – 12:30

12:30 – 2:00 – Intermediate classes visited Primary classes (on Primary Innovation Day) / Primary classes visited Intermediate classes (on Intermediate Innovation Day).

Students created a variety of creative projects for our Innovation Days, including: games, jewelry holders, board games, art, crafts, science experiments, stop motion videos, and even app development. What powerful learning!  The interest, engagement and pride displayed by all of our students and staff as they visited and presented projects was unbeatable. The students loved participating in their projects and got so much out of learning from one another. The parents also enjoyed having their children work on these projects at home and loved seeing the engagement and excitement of their children. This is what learning is all about – real learning that our students (and staff) are passionate about.

Here is a video of some of the Innovation Day Projects.

It will be great to reflect on our Innovation Days with our staff to make it even better in coming years!

About Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.
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