Superior test scores do not result in more creative entrepreneurs. On the contrary, it may hamper the development of entrepreneurial and creative activities.
– Yong Zhao, World Class Learners (p 115)
This year I elected to use some grant money to purchase journals for each student in the building. I want to give my classrooms the tools to help students be reflective learners in all content areas. While I hemmed and hawed over which type to buy, I came across this short video titled “When There is a Correct Answer”:
After watching this video, I realized that I was attempting to control the students’ learning. I was worrying about whether the lines were far enough apart for students, when I should have been wondering if lines were even necessary.
With that, I bought two copies of the Moleskine Volant Notebooks with plain paper. My son and I would be the guinea pigs. Our purpose was to see if the lack of lines would improve our notes and reflections. As the video stated, “What if there were no right answers?”
Here is a sample from my journal. I took notes while reading Out of Our Minds by Sir Ken Robinson. A requirement of myself was to add a visual component to each note.
Although I couldn’t say for sure, I believe I remembered more from this book than from other resources I have taken notes on.
Here are two samples from my son. As you can see, he was into Chima and spooky stories at that time.
Permission was given by the author to reprint his work.
This mini action research project convinced me to go with blank paged notebooks. The possibilities are limitless when we remove the barriers to creative thinking. I could see some concern being expressed over the kids not having lines to help keep their writing in place. However, as a friend of the family and teacher stated, “Kids who need lines will make their own lines”. Hopefully the kids won’t spend their whole reflection time making the lines!
How do you see these blank journals being used in school? What discipline areas could really benefit from some time to reflect? Please share your ideas on this (blank) wall.