Sparking Wonder One Idea At a Time

Braeden and his entry into the TCEA cardboard mascot challenge

Braeden and his entry into the TCEA cardboard mascot challenge

For over a year, I thought that my nephew found a love for puppetry after watching the muppet movie which then led to a binge night of creation culminating in an epic facetime call with me.

Last week, at TCEA, while listening to my nephew share his story during his session, I learned that his drive to create puppets started long before that. Two years ago, while Braeden was in 2nd grade, his teacher assigned a “recycling” project where kids were to take things found around the house to create something new.

According to Braeden, he chose to make a puppet marionette (He has no idea why he chose this) which did not work as planned. I remember him being upset about it because someone in his class broke it. Even though the project was over, he wanted to make a new one but decided to take a fuzzy wallet and turn it into a puppet…for his own personal fun, instead. This is what brought on the need to see the muppet movie and why he started learning through youtube to make puppets.

Two years, 8 puppets…1 mascot suit…and more art created than we could ever have imagined later, I can say without a doubt that Braeden’s itch for creating did in fact start in his classroom…but was certainly cultivated at home.

Sparking Wonder in the “Braedens” of Your Classroom

Braeden’s story of creativity, as amazing as it is, isn’t that unique. There are children like him in every classroom…waiting to have their “wonder” sparked…waiting on an opportunity to explore…waiting on the chance to shine.

I remember Braeden’s time in 2nd grade and it wasn’t pretty. As a matter of fact, it was a year of “district aligned” drill & kill but this project…this chance to create…mattered more than anything because his assignment TO CREATE led him along a path of wonder and into the arms of authentic learning.

That one “time killing” project…started this entire journey of passion driven inspiration and we will forever be thankful for it!

If you are wondering how to spark wonder in your students, look no further than re-evaluating what we think has value.

Don’t say…”We don’t have time to do that project”…Find it.

Don’t say…”My kids can’t do that”…Believe in them.

Don’t say…”Their parents probably did that for them”…Kids are capable of much more than we often give them credit for.

Don’t say…”We can’t do that unless I can grade it”…Embedding a love of learning is grade-less.

Say instead…

While this activity may seem silly at first, I have no idea which creative soul may awaken. I have to do this because when I give my students the opportunity to freely express…they are afforded the chance to connect to the unexplainable fire within. Every kid deserves this opportunity. Every…Single…One

Comments 1

  1. Awsome vignette. If only more teachers would get out of the box and use creative means to teach there would most certainly be more true comprehension of concepts.

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