“And my contention is, all kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly. So I want to talk about education and I want to talk about creativity. My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”
Sir Ken Robinson (Quote taken from this post)
Being able to just sit back and read and look at other posts, I have been amazed by some of the work that I have seen done by school aged students.
The first that I would like to share I had head about, but Ewan McIntosh writes about in depth and with great detail on his blog regarding Martha Payne and her blog. I am not going to go into great detail about what had happened, as Ewan’s post is much better than anything I could write, so below is a video about what Martha started doing:
After her blog saw a HUGE spike in readership, her own school tried to ensure that it was censored to not cause a disturbance within the school. Many people were outraged by this, and quickly it received international attention.
Through all of this, Martha had raised a huge amount to help build a kitchen in a school in Malawi, and has brought awareness to food programs in schools from all over the world. Ewan writes about the real learning that Martha exhibits so exquisitely in his post:
Martha shows every facet of great learning: real world change, making the environment around her better, sharing her thinking with the world, having a conscious for the world beyond her immediate horizons, and robustness in the face of incredible media and social media pressure. She is another ‘Caine‘, with a supportive parent and facilitating adults around her. She’ll go far.
The other student that I saw do some amazing work (although on a much less serious note), is Ton Do-Nguyen, a junior in high school from Pennsylvania, who made this amazing imitation of a Beyonce video with a “Snuggie” twist. You can actually watch the whole video with the Beyonce comparison below:
Reading an MTV article on the kid that made the video, it is amazing how he not only got so much attention, but actually figured out some other creative uses for the “Snuggie”:
It’s not just the superstar singing Ton’s praises either: Everyone from Perez Hilton to “Glee” star Harry Shum Jr. are bowing down to the Snuggie-clad tribute, with the same question on everybody’s mind: How the heck did he do it?
“For each specific part, I would just look on YouTube and try and get it down to a T in front of my mirror and go off and film it,” Ton explained. “It’s so tiring, and do you know what it’s like to be in a Snuggie in the middle of July?”
And while the sleeved blanket was originally used merely as a fashion statement to set the two clips apart, Ton revealed that the body-length fleece ended up serving useful in the production as well: “I used my Snuggie as a blue screen and wore a blue shirt and then I just did my thing.”
I am not going to lie. I have watched this video in the double digits not only because it is extremely entertaining, but because it is absolutely amazing that this kid created this video. He has an extraordinary attention to detail while also bringing his own personality to the video. I picture myself as a kid trying to imitate moves from videos (Every Little Step by Bobby Brown was a favourite although I did not really like the costumes!) but never being able to do any type of video editing that was done in this video. I have no idea who created the video, but it is interesting to see that this student is doing this when school is out, as opposed to when it is actually happening.
As I think of these two huge projects by these unique individuals with separate interests and probably strengths, I am curious about how much of this happened in spite of schools, as opposed to because of them. In Martha’s case, her school actually tried to stop her yet she succeeded because of support from her family and a huge international community backing her up. Ton’s video, which has brought more attention to the Beyonce song in which he should really get some kickbacks from (I never heard the song until now but have actually downloaded since seeing his video) was done seemingly on his own, where he says he had basically taught himself to do the video editing. (The “Snuggie” props are also his.)
Do we do projects like these in schools? I am not putting this challenge for everyone else, but for myself as well. Do we allow and encourage kids to be creative, take risks, create social change, and do all of this in the context of learning in schools?
After seeing these two kids over the summer, I am even more inspired to help students achieve these big dream projects within a school setting.