You see Innovation Day is all about passionate self-directed learning. I do not dictate what the students have to do or what topic they study. I do not give them output restrictions. I do not grade it. I do not guide them. What I do though is help them find a way to create, I guide them through discussion and preparation before the day and then on the day I step aside, fully confident that they can indeed achieve without me. And that is truly what is hardest about Innovation day; getting out of the way. not offering your help, not showing students how to do something or research something, but trusting their abilities and talents to navigate through every obstacle. Of course, I am there in the room with them, but I mainly film their progress and then stay in my own corner. In fact, most students are so focused on what they are trying to create that they have little time or desire to speak to me.
So why should you take the Innovation day challenge, because it is a challenge indeed! You should take it because the trust you hand over to your students is palpable. Because students realize that they can direct their own learning. Because students get excited about learning and see that many things can be accomplished at school. Because students get to show off their interests and their skills in new ways. Because this may just inspire you to do this more often, perhaps as a genius hour? Because this allows students to prove to you that they can manage their own time, that they can get things done within a deadline, that they do have a great work ethic; all things we tend to use homework for. Because my students voted Innovation Day their second most favorite thing of the whol e year and that says a lot.
So how do you get started? Well, here is my planning sheet I have students fill out a couple weeks prior. Here is the first post I ever wrote about it. Here is the post I wrote after my first one where I was totally blown away. Here are Josh Stumpenhorsts’ resources that I have used. And finally here are two videos to show you the results. One is of the day, the other is created on Innovation Day by Jacob who decided to do stop motion and by golly figured it out on his own. And that truly is what it is all about. So this year or next take the Innovation day challenge; give your students a whole day to direct their own learning and let them astound you. You will not be disappointed.