Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sol LeWitt Observations Day #1 and #2

I wanted to share a quick observation from the Sol LeWitt inspired project 9th graders started last week.

The drawing group had to move from the prototyping phase to agreeing on a design for the panel.  Each individual in the drawing group was given between 10-15 minutes to read through the directions (see below) and sketch out a potential pattern on a drafting sheet.  At the end of he prototyping phase the drawing group had to come together, examine each prototype and agree on one design for the panel.

It was interesting to see how each drawing group went about the process of reaching a final decision.  In some cases, individuals stepped forward and facilitated a conversation that led to a collaborative decision.  These individuals comfortably assumed a leadership role, but were cognizant of including all members in the conversation.  Other groups struggled to organize a communal discussion and the final decision was more the result of a few assuming the responsibility for the group to reach an agreement.

I was struck by the stark contrast between periods.  Again, some drawing groups excelled during the decision-making process while other clearly struggled.  It highlighted a need to mentor students through collaborative problem solving / decision making.  Throughout the K-12 experience students work as teams, but I wonder how much we compel learners to reflect on the collaborative process.  The differences between periods was not subtle and brings to the forefront the need for educators to think about building a cooperative capacity within each learner.  We cannot assume students know how to work together but instead, this is a skill that has to be nurtured.

Moving forward in the project it will be interesting to see if students can efficiently and effectively work together.  The project is structured in a way were decisions have to be made by students within a condensed time frame.  It's worth observing and noting whether students make a conscious effort to become more effective communicators and collaborators.   

Day #2 Drawing Directions