This past year I had my first opportunity to co- manage a team of students for the organization Destination Imagination. Taking part in this program with students and seeing the potential it has in both engaging and empowering our learners has been an incredibly valuable experience for me professionally. For a more detailed explanation of this amazing organization visit my blog post, Celebration of Creation. For big picture highlights of Destination Imagination see below:
- the largest creativity program in the world.
- been around since 1982 and is present in 30 countries, 48 states and at varying levels in provinces across Canada.
- a leader in inquiry and project based learning and blends STEM with fine arts, and social entrepreneurship.
- each summer 6 different and unique challenges are published and teams of up to 7 students spend the next 9 months trying to come up with the best solution 8 minute solution possible.
- the teams work collaboratively using the creative process to plan, write a script, design a set, create props, choose costumes, refine, practice and refine yet again, all while looking closely at the set criteria for each challenge.
- after months of hard work, creation and revisions students compare their solution to those of others at regional tournaments each Spring.
- every May in Knoxville, Tennessee, there is a culminating tournament called Global Finals, where teams compare their solution with those from around the world.
I had the opportunity to take our DI team of five girls to Global Finals, in Tennessee this past May. I had been to Globals before, and had marvelled at the true celebration of learning, creativity and student achievement that it is, but nothing could compare to the experience of sharing the week with children.
Joseph Cornell said, “Look at everything as though you are seeing it for the first time, with the eyes of a child, fresh with wonder.” These words have always held rich meaning for me as a parent. My greatest joys have come from experiencing so many firsts, sharing in so many memories, and building a shared narrative as a mother through the eyes of my own children.
Global Finals ’16 was an opportunity to partake in a similar experience as an educator through the eyes of five wonderful, creative, grateful, inspiring students. I watched Jesse’s eyes grow wide as the plane took off on her first trip on an airplane. I looked on as Diana’s face beamed with pride as she represented her province and entered an arena filled with 16 000 cheering people at the Welcoming Ceremonies. I squeezed Jamie’s hand as nerves took over just before performance time. I stood amazed by Cassie’s continuous leadership, positive attitude and openness as she took in every new site and new experience with wonder. And I watched in awe as Michaela made yet another pin trade, along with yet another friend from another country.
Being part of Destination Imagination and attending Global Finals was a chance of a lifetime for our five girls. For me, it was one of the most rewarding opportunities I have had as an educator, because of the enriching and rewarding experience I shared with my students. For a more detailed account of our team’s journey through Destination Imagination on the road to Global Finals…see below.