In some cases, student motivation is becoming an issue in my Innovation Class. But before I point the finger at the students, I must first look internally to see what is happening during innovation time. To be frank, I expected this to happen. I have already seen it happen in my art classroom. Students begin the year/semester all excited about the choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art. The first art pieces the students produce are both meaningful and beautiful; they experience issues in the creative process but complete a piece that communicates new ideas and enthusiasm for the making of art. Then they lose steam and before I know it, they turn to Pinterest for ideas. This is when I intervene. I find that a quick conference will refocus their energy, when they “don’t know what to do”. I simply ask what media they would like to try or what idea they wish they could communicate visually and working together, we create a plan.
Here is where I give a big “thank you” to my PLN! As I read through blogs of my colleagues, I discovered that what is happening in my classroom actually has a name. “The Suck”, coined by Jon Corippo, is the dead zone that students find themselves in between when the project is assigned and their excitement level is high, and when the project is actually due, and their excitement level is low. Some of my students are abandoning their original ideas or are simply complacent during Innovation Class. I know what to do–I have been already doing this in the art room. I just haven’t been doing it in my Innovation Class. It is time to intervene.
Karl Lindgren-Streicher says that “#ObiWanCorippo has a couple solutions to The Suck. First, you’ve got to label it. Kids need to know what The Suck is. The need to be able to recognize when they get stuck in The Suck.” Early next week, I will present the concept to my students with elements from Corippo’s presentation.
Then, I have to take what I already know how to do and move it to my Innovation Class. Taking time to conference with each student, I will set goals with students individually. For some students, this will be easy since they will be working through some structured, short-term steps in the process: create your 3 in 3 presentation, review and update your timeline, etc. For others, this will be a time to critically look at the project they are involved in and remind them that this emotional journey is worth it. They can bring their amazing ideas to fruition.