Do I know what I’m getting myself into? Absolutely not.
I’ve seen legacy projects before and I wanted to do one at my last district but it was kind of a “tread lightly” situation because when I brought it up to my principal, she wasn’t opposed but I only got approved to do hand prints on the wall. Needlesstosay, my 8th graders enjoyed it but it wasn’t much.
So this year, with 5th graders and the entire support of my administrators, my 5th graders are coming up with a legacy project all their own. I’ve asked them these questions and premised with these conditions.
“What we are about to develop and eventually create is a legacy project. Something big, something permanent and something we collaborate together on and leave at the school for students and adults to see for years to come. What do you want to leave behind? If someone were to walk into this school, what would our project tell them? Beyond the school mascot and school colors, what do we want them to know. What theme can we present as an idea? How will it install – will it hang, will it stand, will it screw into the wall? Will it be interactive or stationary? Will it have all our ideas in one or all our ideas and one idea? What can you leave behind that means something to you?”
Of course – we discussed this too – I didn’t just ask it. I also showed them examples I had of other legacy projects I’ve seen. This helped the ball get rolling and we dove in. Students had a week (two class periods, more like one because of a snow day) but a week to think about their ideas and use their sketchbooks to map them out. If they couldn’t draw it, they could describe it with words. Today, I came around and conferences with each of them about their ideas. I jotted down notes – made notice of ideas that overlapped and ideas that would be feasible. Right now, the sky of ideas is unlimited. I didn’t want to say something was impossible because right now, we have no idea if it is, yet.
From here, we will draw consensus on what will work for everyone and begin developing a timeline. When will we do what and how can we gather the correct materials. So far – two themes are constantly being brought up: “To achieve, you must believe.” and “We are a family, with different paths in the future but the same support along the way.” So far – we have strong installation ideas including archways, oversized dream cathers, wall installations and interactive staircases. How can we draw them all together and encompass it all? Beats me but we are going to make it happen – I have no concerns. And I think it’s going to be great – I mean, the ideas these young minds are coming up with would blow anyone out of the water.
I am unbelievably proud of these students.