Tag Archives: teamwork

Synthesizing ideas to create a videogame

Last week at the International Preschool of Raleigh, students did a new activity called The Newest Videogame, which is based off of one of our most used activities, The Newest App. At this session, students were first asked to list topics that they loved that were featured in their favorite videogames. They mentioned many different things, such as space/the planets, princesses, spider webs (like from Spiderman), rocketships, and lunch/food. While students knew the activity was going to be about a videogame, they did not tell them what they would be doing with the list of activities that they created. After this, students were told they would have to work together to create a new videogame, specifically using the words they mentioned before.

Together, students worked to create a videogame that incorporated all of the features they mentioned before, and they did a wonderful job. Students seemed to really begin grasping the concept of synthesizing ideas and building off of someone else’s idea. While one student suggested that the game be to build bricks, the next student added onto that with ease, noting that the game should use spiderwebs to knock down some of the bricks. Students continued to build on this idea, creating a game where you build bricks and stack food ontop of the bricks, while spiderwebs can shoot out and knock down bricks, and planets and princesses can work together to knock down spiderwebs. It was great to see students really understanding and utilizing the concept of combining different ideas/topics into one videogame.

This is also a point where I began to see huge growth in the students. Since working through the Story Pieces activity a few weeks ago, students have greatly improved their ability to synthesize ideas together, and have done a wonderful job of basing their ideas off of a concept that someone else mentioned. It was so wonderful to see this growth after one of our activities, and it is great to see these skills shine through in these students, and at such a young age!

I Lead Because…(Ivana)

I lead because… I love being a positive impact on the group dynamic. I love the feeling of checking off a goal on the list and knowing that everyone was happy to put in their best effort to achieve the goal. I love offering compromises, combining different ideas, and providing advice and information during difficult situations. I love speaking in front of other people and seeing my visions come to life through leading.

-Ivana

1A

This was a model group. The students fully understood the concept of teamwork. In order to fulfill the requirements that all students should speak, some students split their sentences in half. Others added witty side-comments to lighten the mood. One group did a remarkable job of creating a summary that would appear on the App Store. All of the groups were very organized, finished within the time limit, and understood the concepts of organization, compromise, and teamwork.

The students said that usually in the classroom, they did not have designated leaders, but they instead used a lot of teamwork and compromise. Therefore, they were very accustomed to working on activities together. They also paid attention to one another and asked creative and valid questions to one another. This group was fun to work with and although they did not touch on aspects of leadership very much during their presentation, the students all understood the concept of teamwork and compromise. This group was very fun to work with, and I am excited to see what these young and intelligent students will do with leadership in the future.

1B

This group was very energetic, I must say. I could tell that all of them loved the project, but at the same time, they also kept talking during one another’s presentations. They had so much energy and did not know how to control it. The students had very creative ideas; however, similar to some of the previous groups, it became apparent that there was a lack of compromise amongst some of the groups with regards to the app. One group selected an outfit-chooser. This was a common app created by girls’ groups, but in some of the groups that contained girls and boys, it became apparent that the boys only agreed to do the app because they believed a compromise could not be formed. Although it seemed like the activity had been unbeneficial for these students, when I asked how they created their creative presentation, all of the students were able to point out what they wrote for the presentation. The group ended their presentation with a witty remark about how their app would be available in the app store within a few days.

Although the app idea would never be approved by teachers, some students came up with a creative app to help students cheat on homework assignments. Aside from the fact that they thought about everything- even if the teacher walks by while the student is using the app- I won’t say anything more about that specific app.

One group took a very creative route to the project which involved a great deal of teamwork, compromise, and subtle leadership. The group listed all of the apps that they liked, and then they called me over. They asked me whether they were allowed to combine real apps that they liked into one mega-app that had new and unique features. Although the purpose of the activity was for the groups to create their own apps, I allowed the group to do so because it was a new and creative idea. In order to access different features of their app, prospective users had to beat a game, etc. which meant that their app incorporated multiple skills into one app. It was very creative, and the logo was a combination of all of the apps’ logos. To make the app even more unique, they changed names such as Instagram and Snapchat into Instantgram and Snapdog. It was extremely well-planned!

This group’s discussion was very similar to that of the other groups. Aside from group that combined all of the different applications, every other group maintained a normal compromise, subtle leadership relationship.

5S

This group really got the idea of a presentation. The students made the presentations extremely enjoyable. One group started with rhetorical question regarding the purpose of the app. Another group mentioned a “review” of sorts that highlighted why their app was more effective than other apps of similar function. Within these two groups, they said that they all came up with the ideas together. They were ideal groups- they each stated many ideas and then eventually decided on one idea that encompassed all of their ideas into one. Then they each came up with their own witty ideas for the presentation. They finished within the time limit as well.

While two of the groups were ideal, one group remained problematic. In a group of three girls where one wanted to do next to nothing regarding leadership, the students could not agree on a single idea. They did not want to think and they did not want to compromise or come to any sort of consensus. When time was up, they suggested an app that one of the previous groups had mentioned. Even though they had another suggestion that was more creative, the students did not want to do the activity one bit. Although I still got across the point of leadership and teamwork with the majority of the class, there was nothing I could say to the group of girls that would make them care.

Yes, the students learned lessons about leadership during this class period, but I believe that I learned the most important lesson during this class period. I learned as long as someone listens, everything is okay. At first, I was upset that the girls were not interested in my project. It seemed like everyone else so far had at least enjoyed the project. However, these girls did not even pretend to enjoy the project. I was offended and felt like the students did not respect me. But at the same time, the two other groups loved the project and executed it perfectly. They listened, acted, and understood. They gleaned valuable information through this project that they can use during their school on a daily basis. When reflecting on this, I realized that it is most important to get my message across regardless of the amount of people listening. As long as at least someone gains knowledge from my teachings, then I have accomplished something. This is an important mentality to have with regards to leadership as well. As a leader, not everyone is going to agree with everything you say. Not everyone is going to appreciate you taking charge. However, it is important to help the group achieve a common goal, and it is equally important to know that as long as you act in a respectable manner and share your teachings, at least someone will listen.

4CN

This group was by far the group that listened the most and the group that we got the point across to the best. One group took the idea of creativity to a whole new level. They went off of the fact that when writing down the word ‘purpose’ on the paper during the planning time, the person accidentally wrote “porpoise-” like the animal. After pointing out this funny mistake to me and the rest of the group, this group based their entire presentation and app on a porpoise that you must feed and play with during the game. The creativity in this class was excellent.

With this class, I was also able to get across a very important point regarding leadership. Within the boys’ groups and girls’ groups separately, the project was completed with subtle leadership but no designated leadership. However, in the groups that contained boys and girls, leadership was more prevalent in its natural form. Leadership was necessary in these groups because the group lacked a common goal and a common purpose. In cases where the group is not united about the goal, it is nearly impossible to complete a task until a common compromise or purpose is created. In order for this to occur, there must be some form of leadership. Someone must step up and create compromises, form plans, and direct the group in the correct direction for success. In the mixed gender groups, the members had different apps that they enjoyed using; therefore, they all envisioned a different app to create. In these groups, when I asked which people did which parts of the preparation, it was split. One person stepped into the position as leader and created the idea. Then another person took over the leadership role to create the logo, and the leadership torch continues to be passed.

While this seems like an effective method when perspectives and goals differ, this must be handled correctly. In one of the mixed gender groups, one of the girls took over the role as the leader, and the leadership role was then passed on to another girl who created the logo. However, in this situation, no one made a compromise. The girl created her own idea, and instead of rising to the occasion of compromise or taking on the leadership torch, the boys didn’t do anything. They didn’t take on the leadership role afterwards, and this lead to a final product that only reflected the ideas of half of the group. It is critical that in these situations, someone should take on the role of a subtle leader, trying to make a compromise and redirecting towards a common product.

Overall, this group did an effective job of completing the project, but the groups still maintained an appropriate amount of difficulties. However, difficulties are important for the growth of the group as well as individual development, and these difficulties allowed us to effectively get across the importance of leadership- both subtle and direct- within school activities.

Activity Description

The one hour session consisted of the same activity for each grade, the same preliminary questions, and roughly the same follow-up questions for each grade. The follow-up discussion varied slightly depending on the grade, the execution of the activity and presentation, and the responses to the questions. Here is a rough outline of the session I conducted for the hour.

Preliminary Questions

*allow students to call out answers- no need to raise their hands for this

How many of you have cell phones?

What kinds of apps do you have on your phone?

** split the students into groups based on columns (everyone will be in a group with the people sitting behind and in front of them) so that they are not necessarily in a group with their good friends

*give students time to rearrange their tables and seats so that they are now in their new groups

Activity

The Newest App

**some groups were given 20 minutes depending on how quickly they rearranged their seats to get into their new groups

Presentation

**Allow students to ask the presenting group questions after the group has finished the presentation

*Take notes during the presentation- especially on creative presentation tactics, notable leadership and teamwork, compromises, commendable presentation or speaking skills, etc.

Voting

** Let the students vote on their favorite app, but do not allow them to vote for their own group

*I do not vote, but I help the students vote in an organized manner

Reflection

*share positive aspects with the class and each group based on the notes written down during presentations

Follow-Up Questions

**let students raise their hands to answer the following questions

*change questions slightly or add/remove questions based on responses and activity

How did it feel working in a group on this activity?

Which was your favorite app? Why?

Did you find it challenging to decide on an app together with your group?

Was it harder for the groups that had boys and girls together?

Was it easier for the groups that are already very close friends?

Which part of the process was it hardest to agree on?

Did you have more conflict choosing the app or deciding what to say during the presentation?

Did one person make the logo or did multiple people make the logo?

How did you decide on the name for your app?

For the portions you did not agree on, did one person create a compromise or suggest an idea that the group used in the final product?

How important was leadership related to each of the separate parts of the project?

Overall, did you use more teamwork or more leadership in your group?

Even if you used more teamwork, do you believe that some leadership was still used during the process?

How do you use teamwork and leadership on a daily basis at your school?

What’s New in December?

Hi everyone! After the huge success on the YAS project, we have lots more to come in December and January! Here’s some things to look forward to:

  1. YAS (You are Special) project round 2 starting from December 20th-December 26th.
    1. Look at previous posts to learn more about the YAS project!
  2. New Year goal setting/planning workshop.
    1. Spend a fun day with other members of Leaders UNITE while planning goals for the 2015 year. We will also discuss changes in education systems (including changes that make leadership more engaging), how to become a more prominent leader in a school environment, and do a few of the Leaders UNITE activities.
    2. Dates are still being confirmed, but they will be posted soon!
  3. Me Too project.
    1. This project will be announced fully in January of 2015. For now, it is worth saying that the project helps people realize that they are not alone in regards to discrimination, social pressures, etc.

We are very excited for all of the upcoming projects! We hope you all will get involved and bringing positivity to our community!

YAS- a Success!

Our Thanksgiving YAS project was a success! We had at least seven people share the YAS status, and over 90 YAS posts within the few days the project was active. Good job to everyone who posted a YAS status! We will do another round of YAS near the last week of December.

For everyone who missed it, YAS (You are Special) was a Leaders UNITE social media movement where people posted status on Facebook and posted on Instagram. Whenever someone ‘liked” the respective post, they would get a personalized message on their wall saying why they are special and important. People could “share” the status and post it as their own to continue the cycle to another group of people. On Thanksgiving day, Ivana and Julia posted multiple YAS messages on people’s walls randomly- whether they knew about the tradition or not! It was a great way to spread the holiday cheer!