Today our first graders brought in their homemade wagons for their wagon parade. It was the culminating activity for their motion and balance unit. There was only one rule, it had to be a wagon that would carry a stuffed animal. Because there was only one rule, the students were allowed the freedom to create anything they wanted to. We had around 80 first graders participating and therefore had 80 different, unique and very creative wagons!
As teachers, how often do we require every student to produce the same project, following the same rules and therefore looking the same. I always think of this when I walk down the hallway and see 20 projects on the wall that are almost identical. When each student is given an open ended task, with few restrictions, they must use creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills to come up with an end product - all the 21st Century Skills we desire our students to develop. Our wagon parade was a perfect example of what can happen when we have less requirements instead of more.