“They say” that hindsight is 20/20. We are suddenly in the know because we have moved forward, and we have had time to reflect and evaluate. We feel smarter and more evolved. As teachers, we know that reflection is one of the most powerful experiences for students, as we see them make sense of where they were and redirect themselves as they move forward, better equipped. We also can learn so much for where we have been and thoughtfully revise our syllabus, our projects, even our approach to classroom management. But what if we didn’t look back so much and “flipped” our perspective to the thought that every moment that we have experienced thus far in our lives have prepared us for now? Emded the reflection? And trust that today will give us the skills and discernment and ideas for tomorrow? We would always be moving forward, willing to try new things, finding ourselves pioneers in the unknown landscape of innovation and creativity.
Every Person Inspired to Create. This is the philosophy and vision of my new school. I have the privilege of serving the Liberty community as the blended learning coach for EPiC Elementary, a new pilot school. Project-based learning, personalized learning, creating, making, doing. That is the plan. If I could have custom-designed a job I would want, this would be it. To help build an innovative school that looks forward instead of behind and forges ahead with creativity and grit.
I’m learning that Every Person Inspired to Create is a journey. A way of thinking. It isn’t clearly defined as one might want; it is open to interpretation. When I think of my own children and how radically different they approach life, I begin to really digest the power of this approach to education, what it means to Be EPiC Everyday. My younger son is systematic and organized, following the rules and expectations, deeply compassionate for others. Given the opportunity to create, he would draw a picture for someone else or build something useful with his Legos. My eldest is my mountain man, with eyes on life’s adventures, creativity and the design process, and a deep desire to love those who struggle in this world. If he were given the opportunity to create, he would design a new invention, out of whatever he could find, to help make life easier for people. Two boys, each with gifts and talents and purpose, creating from their hearts.
In order to truly understand this vision of EPiC, I believe we must live it. We must Be EPiC Everyday. This mindset reminds me of something Anne Lamott wrote in her book Bird by Bird. She, in her raw and self-deprecating humor, gently encourages the idea of “shitty” first drafts: “The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all all pour out and then let it romp all over the place…..Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less….” To Be EPiC everyday doesn’t mean producing beautiful work all the time. In many ways, it is the opposite–it’s messy. It’s process. We find connections, we make lists and bubbles and brainstorms, we dialogue, we argue, we lead, we follow, we try, we fail, we succeed, we get dirty, and we create.
I made a list of my EPiC everyday–ideas for the next couple of months.
- Design and build Max’s Murphy Bed/desk combo.
- Learn to use that saw Todd bought (nervous!).
- Try a new recipe. Don’t use a recipe. Explore making spring rolls.
- Write. Write some more.
- Create something on Photoshop. Edit family photos.
- Begin to explore Illustrator.
- Do those HTML/CSS tutorials I’ve been meaning to do.
Challenge: Have you made your EPiC Everyday list?