I love May Day! When I was a kid, my family would decorate baskets, roll paper doilies, or paint ceramic pots and fill them with flowers. Then we would drive around to neighbors and grandparents and try to drop them off without getting caught. I’m not sure what was more fun, making the May Day bundles or sneaking around to deliver them. I think the best part was just the pure joy and excitement of giving to others.
I’ve carried on this tradition throughout my life. In my classrooms I’ve turned it into a lesson on economics giving students a budget to create May Day baskets for all of the staff or used it to show students the efficiency of an assembly line as we discovered various ways to produce the many baskets. My own kids have joined in with me as we create bundles for our neighbors and try to deliver them without getting caught.
Every year I get excited about trying to figure out a new May Day bundle. But I also struggle with the creative process. There are so many ideas but finding just the right one for my budget, time, energy and talents can be a challenge. Every year I say I’m going to get started early on the project and yet I find myself only a few days away and I have yet to start.
This year as I was struggling to come up with an idea, I remembered that my young neighbor, Tara Gutzmer, grows succulents. She is an amazing gardener and has taught me so much about seeds, planting and growing. She has a talent for caring for things. She generously put together some of her baby succulents for me to pot and share with neighbors. I’m so excited to be supporting someone with ideas and a passion. I’ll be paying her instead of some large corporate store that doesn’t put half the love she does into growing.
This month I’ll be celebrating this type of passion and interest. It’s one of the things I love best about teaching and especially my IDEAS book and courses. I love to see a student discover a passion and try to grow it into something real. I’m always surprised by students who often start out disinterested start to get passionate about an idea, something they are learning or a project. It’s never easy. Just like I struggle to find the right project and often take on too much or start too late, so do my students. But that is all part of the process. It’s a journey of discovery not only about a topic but about yourself as a learner.
In my classes I love to start by sharing the book, What Do You Do with an IDEA? by Kobi Yamada. Students love the illustrations and the story. The analogy of an idea to an egg is captivating and relatable. We even create our own IDEA eggs. Yamada ends the book with a powerful statement that answers the question, “What do you do with an IDEA?....You change the world!” Changing the world is amazing, but what I love even more is how that change starts. It starts with a child lighting up inside. Using IDEAS, students:
Develop a plan for learning
Explore answers and connections
Announce to an appropriate audience
Once students discover the joy of learning, it’s like flipping a light switch. They start glowing and sharing their ideas and looking for new things to learn about. I’m so excited this month to be sharing this with you. I’ll also be showcasing some of my students IDEAS journeys. I’m sharing the real stories, not polished projects or perfect presentations but stories of changes that start small and grow. One light bulb at a time....IDEAS are changing the world