This ImagineIt project has taught me so much. One thing in particular that I have learned is to think outside of the box when it comes to students. When I started this project I tried to place myself in their shoes since I grew up in the same community. I wanted them to learn, but I wanted to make it meaningful learning. The final results were astonishing. Not only were my students able to learn about gardens, but they also learned that they could make a difference at their age.
As I watched my students presenting to community members and parents they took pride in their work. Although they were presenting, they were also listening and learning which was the most important thing they could have done. Suggestions were made on improvements to their prototypes and also how they could sell their crops to neighborhood stores so that they would have income coming in to keep the garden going. My students took all of these things in and they had so many new ideas to add to their projects.
Oscar Newman also worked with me on the ImagineIt project and his thoughts were “While we were all learning about leadership for the final part of the program, you were learning about shared leadership. As a result, sharing control of the project with students must be a singularly empowering experience for your students – one that they will remember. I think you really showed how a creative STEM project can also help bring parents and community members into the conversation about teaching and learning.”
I learned that the teaching does not have to always come from me. My students will accept the challenge of learning new things from research, hands on opportunities and from experts in the field. I also learned that although you set a goal it might not happen quickly. What I planned to happen for my students was for the garden to be up and running by the end of this school year. Even though the garden is not complete my students this year have paved the way for students next year to pick up where these students left off so next year will be just as exciting!