Countdown to Destination ImagiNation

If you come to my classroom you’ll see beautiful paintings stashed in various locations, as well as fascinating machines in all sizes and shapes of boxes pushed up against the walls. My coat rack has a two foot square piece of wood hammered to the top of it, I have piles of receipts (mostly sorted) on my desk, and my supply of drinking straws and paperclips is dwindling. It’s been a crazy few months getting ready for the March 18th tournament as 15 teams have come through my classroom designing and creating solutions for their Destination ImagiNation challenges. After school and weekends have provided some time for extra meetings, but now, two weeks away…time is running out!

I’ve undertaken a few ambitious projects in my teaching career…survival camps, Guinness World Book Record challenges, sailing trips, an interdisciplinary project that included a summit at the University of Calgary…but Destination ImagiNation has definitely pushed the boundaries for me in almost every way. I thought it might be worthwhile creating my top ten list of things I’ve learned from Destination ImagiNation before the tournament, because I’m certain our first tournament (complete with more than 160 students, 40 managers and 50 volunteers) will have its own top ten list by the time we’re through!

So here we go…what I learned from DI this year.

10. There are tools we can use so we can get much better at brainstorming.
9. Most of us don’t know how to work in teams.
8. As a teacher I often rescue kids from their learning.
7. Students can get me to give them the answer if they wait long enough.
6. The answers that I give students aren’t necessarily right or helpful.
5. It’s hard to cut ABS pipe straight.
4. It can take a long time just to make a box.
3. The good ideas come about an hour after you’ve given up.
2. If it doesn’t say you can’t, you can.
1. We manage to kill most great ideas with cynicism, fear and self-importance.

So there you go. Give me a week or two after the tournament and I will have another list. One of the things on the list will definitely be: You’ll never know how much people care about education until you ask them to volunteer. The response to our request for help has been so inspiring!

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