The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose. – Richard Grant
My project work group is based on “How can you capture wind” and other related themes. There are two other project groups forming, one on life cycles and the other on kindness. All three groups were meeting this week to be introduced to the idea of being in a project work group, and our goal was for everyone to connect with each other, and begin to form a bond with the idea of identifying with the project group. Last year children would proudly proclaim which group they were in, as well as name with group others were in. It became a part of their identity.
The use of symbols is one way we promote identity forming in our school – each child is assigned one at when they join our school, and it moves up with them from classroom to classroom. Giving our group it’s own symbol seemed like a relateable way to identify with our project group.
We sat around a table with a blank piece of paper and “thinking markers”. I introduced the idea to the group then we sat quietly for a ten count – something we have been practicing in our classroom – while we each thought of what a possible symbol for our group could be.
Each child stated their idea, then got to work sketching it. Some of the ideas were a cake, snow, a tornado, a hurricane, a tree blowing in the wind, and rain. We looked at all of the sketches and they took some time reaching consensus on a final symbol.
They chose to have a drawing of a cake being blown away in a hurricane. M took on the task of combining three sketches into one, drawing a tree blowing in the wind, and a cake in a hurricane under the tree. Each child then chose a rock, and copied the symbol onto their rock.
When they finished their rock, they made either a bracelet or necklace – just as the other project groups had done. This is something they will be able to put on before going off to do project work.
A co-teacher hung hooks for each project groups necklaces and wrote up this exert to go along with them:
I could talk about the value of project work for days and the conversation would always look different. Project work speaks to so many areas of development, one of which is identity. I know this because I feel it too. It can be a struggle sometimes letting go of last years project work and moving on to a new one, because I connected with the project so deeply it also became a part of my own identity. I was the storyteller last year, and the game maker the year before. I immersed myself in these mini-worlds, and this year I am the wind maker. Connecting with curriculum on a deeper level, feeling linked to the others on the same exploratory journey, is critical to the work we do.