(#210) Keeping the Hands Raised

[NOTE to my readers/followers: Today marks the beginning of my 5th year writing this weekly blog.  I have not missed a week in that time–and look forward to more great weeks and years ahead.  Thanks for all of your support!  As for today, there is no better way to start the 5th year than with the energy of our future generation!  So…read on…]

I’m thinking we should hire these young folks
to help our so-called “leaders” understand the
basics of human dynamics and collaboration.

I have used The Marshmallow Challenge as a summation activity on the final day of the college semester for my students. It has proven to be a wonderful instructional tool on many levels.  I also have had good fortune introducing various faculty groups (higher education) to it around the nation.

This past week I ventured into the realm of 3rd graders to do the activity.  While the Marshmallow Challenge always creates a lot of energy and excitement, I had not experienced anything quite like what Mrs. Jeanne Shober’s class brought to the activity.

First, I loved the hands in the air. These kids wanted to talk, interact, explain, vocalize, and share their opinions.  There is an old cliché in teaching that our children start out as question marks—but end up as periods.  As we move higher up the educational ladder, fewer hands tend to go up…and that is a loss. We need to keep the curiosity and passion in the learning! Cheers to the teachers who do that—and sustain the energy for both their students and themselves. (No short order.)

2014-05-28 09.16.07-cropped


I was not quite sure what to expect when I did the end-of-activity debriefing with the wide-eyed 3rd graders.  But with expert questioning from the teacher, principal, and class assistant, these young scholars arrived at some astonishingly perceptive conclusions.  Here is a short list of their insights—and remember these are their words (pretty near verbatim):

 “What did you learn from the activity?”

  • It’s not about how big [NOTE: one group due to the small size of the structure it built had no way to “win” but they were creative and had fun, regardless. See photo below.]
  • Work as a team.
  • Have fun.
  • You never know.
  • Never quit.
  • Something is worth it even if it looks bad.

2014-05-28 09.31.56

“What was not working during the activity?  What did you do when it didn’t work? What was frustrating?”

  • Everyone had their own ideas.
  • Fighting doesn’t get things done.
  • Sometimes you run out of materials.
  • We broke the material too soon.
  • The first thing we thought was that it could’ve been worse.
  • We started ‘discombobulated’!

“What lessons did you learn? How did you know what to do first…then 2nd?”

  • Look for hard workers.
  • Don’t play with your materials.
  • Use time wisely.
  • Be eager to help.
  • Be creative.
  • Experience helps.
  • Put different ideas together…and sometimes things will end up better than your idea.

WOW!  “Fighting doesn’t get things done.” “Have fun.” “Never quit.” “Use time wisely.” “Be eager.” “Put different ideas together.”  “Work as a team.”

I’m thinking we should hire these young folks to help our so-called “leaders” understand the basics of human dynamics and collaboration.

Just saying….

Video recommendation for the week:

How do business people (adults!) do with the challenge?  Click here for a peak.

Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

 (c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in collaboration, common sense, Communication, curiosity, Passion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to (#210) Keeping the Hands Raised

  1. marianbeaman says:

    Congratulations on a strong ending and a new beginning – 5th year blogging. Bravo, Steve! I know how much time and effort required to keep a blog going, but I also know how fulfilling it can be. What an educational history you are recording in the process.

    I enjoyed the peek into Mrs. Shober’s classroom. Funny how the questions she asked remind me of the assessments we did in Cooperative Learning. Yes?

    Enjoy your summer!


  2. Pingback: (#240) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2014 In Review | Steve Piscitelli

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