Kass Bates’ Blog

         Member of the Texas Discovery Education Leadership Council

February 16, 2013

Simple is Good!

Filed under: Texas @ 10:55 am
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Simple is Good

This is a picture I took of the Dembo/Shareski presentation at TCEA last week. And ever since I haven’t been able to get the second one…”SImple is Good” out of my head. I even went so far as look up “simple” in the dictionary. Not like I don’t know what it means but just to see if the way I was metagonating on simple was even close…..Surprise, here are three definitions of simple that resonated with me. “1. free from ostentation or display 2. free of secondary complications and 3. not limited or restricted” I love that all three definitions imply some sort of liberation because that was one of the messagesI took away from their presentation. We need to give ourselves permission to share what is real, what is  ongoing, what mistakes we are making, what risks we are taking, and how we are genuinely growing as learners and thinkers.

So it was with this mental frame of mind I went into working with the second graders this week as they were finishing up their projects for our district digital festival “Penguin Palooza.” SInce TCEA was smack dab in the middle of this three  week  project the kids and teachers were left dangling last week to get their projects finished without me. Or so I thought….

What I found was that the groups of students I worked with had continued on their projects freely without me or their teachers. While the projects weren’t completed they totally reflected the thinking of a child, the work of a child, the creation of a child. This gave me the luxury of simply sitting next them, watching their spontaneous collaborative exchanges, and offering assistance when needed. I was amazed and touched by the level creativity, the willingness to accept one another’s ideas, and the varied ways they chose to present their projects. While my students may not win in their respective categories for the competition, I am confident that my entries reflect their work, not mine. And while their work really wasn’t “simple, ” it was not limited or restricted or complicated by the invasion of adult ideas .  To me that feels like “simple is good,” really, really good.

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