Sunday, November 20, 2016

#D100BloggerPD LAUNCH Book Study

What is #D100BloggerPD?

Welcome to the first post of the LAUNCH book study with the #D100BloggerPD crew! #D100BloggerPD is a group of bloggers from Berwyn South School District in Berwyn, IL. For a little over a year, a growing group of district teachers have been reflecting on books by blogging about each chapter. To view all the posts, follow #D100BloggerPD on twitter. For this book study, we have a great group of nine educators that will reflect on each chapter of LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking To Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani. Follow each blog post to dive into the book. Each blog is listed in the schedule below and I will update the links on the Thinglink as posts go live. We will review two chapters each week for the next month. Get your own copy of Launch here. Join the conversation in the comment section of the blog posts. Use #D100BloggerPD and #LAUCHBook to join us on twitter.

LAUNCH- Ch. 1 We Need Creative Classrooms

I first read this book on an airplane on my way to Canada this summer. It was so motivating, I couldn't wait to get back to work to implement the LAUNCH cycle of design thinking to get students to solve authentic problems. Spencer and Juliani laid out their points in an excellent way and I found myself devouring this book! 

To start chapter one, the authors jump right into the 'why' and set the stage for implementing design thinking into every classroom. As they covered most of the excuses as to why creativity does not get emphasized in the classroom, they point out access to technology is no longer the problem. The divide is created when students are consumers instead of creators. Instead of spending time consuming content, students need to be creating and sharing their own creative content and ideas. This same overall message is also seen in George Couros book Innovators Mindset. For students to be innovative problem solvers in today's society, not just the future, but now, we need to give them the skills to be creative thinkers. The world has already given them the technology tools, teachers need to facilitate the experiences. 

I think everyone would agree with the quote above and it is not that profound, however, does your classroom show that creativity is for everyone?  Creative projects aren't meant for the gifted or the students that get done early. Students have different talents and the creative process can amplify talents that otherwise would have been hidden. We have to believe that everyone can be creative and be ready to pick them up when they fail and build success from those failures. When students take risks with their ideas and understand that failure is part of the process, their success will be that much sweeter.

As a former science teacher, I am a sucker for systems and processes. To reach student's creative potential, Spencer and  Juliani suggest design thinking as the process and the LAUNCH cycle as the framework. If students are able to understand and manipulate the steps of this cycle, they can use it to find and implement creative solutions to any problem.

Every day we deal with constraints in the way of achieving our goals. Those constraints can cause us to give up, or push us to creative solutions. Whether it is time or resources that are an issue, the book points out there is more power in having constraints and it fosters the creative process. Dollar Store STEM has easy to implement challenges that can give students practice working within constraints.

I am working with an awesome 5th-grade team at Hiawatha school to implement design thinking through the LAUNCH cycle. As part of the process, I put together a series of Ted-Ed lessons. The first lesson uses Spencer's video called "The LAUNCH Cycle," to describe the LAUNCH cycle to students. The "Dig Deeper" section pulls in other resources on design thinking. The second lesson is called "This Could Fail," so we can discuss failure with the students. The lesson is based on John Spencer's video and in the dig deeper section the students will explore a few other videos including "Audri's Rube Goldberg Mouse Trap." The goal is to get students to anticipate failure and move forward as we begin this creative process. Lesson 3 and 4 will happen when students are ready to navigate ideas. "Think Inside the Box" is the third lesson that will show students the power of creative constraints. The fourth lesson, called "A Different Approach to Brainstorming," will help teachers and students have a structure to come up with solution ideas.

This wooden plaque hangs above my desk as a reminder to create, produce, and accomplish my ideas. I have a lot of wonderful conversations with colleagues, but those ideas do not always come to light. This sign is a reminder for me to continue to launch. I love that Spencer and Juliani emphasize the point that the final step is to launch our creative ideas. They state how this is the scariest, but most rewarding part and is often overlooked.

Creative power is already in your classroom. Join us for the rest of the book study to talk about how you can use LAUNCH to unleash creativity in any class. Have you tried it? Did you read the chapter? Let's chat about it in the comment section below.

Thank you for joining #D100BloggerPD for the reflection of Chapter 1 of LAUNCH.  Annie Forest (@MrsForest) will be covering Chapter 2 on her blog, on Wednesday, November 23. Check it out and follow along with the rest of the book study using #D100BloggerPD on twitter.  


  1. Every day we deal with constraints in the way of achieving our goals. Those constraints can cause us to give up, or push us to creative solutions.
    When I read this part of the book all I could think of was - Necessity is the Mother of Invention by Plato.
    Thank you for sharing the TED-ED resources. Those are a huge bonus to anyone getting started with the process! Much appreciated.

  2. Thanks Mona! Your comment reminds me of growth mindset. Design thinking gives us the process so we don't give up, just move to another phase of the process. Sometimes we give up because we don't know what to do next other than quit!

  3. Thanks for creating this book study. I started Launch over the summer and am revisiting it now. (You encouraged me to start it up again.) :) Love the Dollar Store STEM resource. I shared that on our district hashtag for more teachers to check out. One of our teachers shared a powerful video clip with me about Henry Ford and how many times his ideas just didn't work out. It's important to remind students about the perseverance of others as they are creating new products or ideas. (Love The Most Magnificent Thing picture book as well.) There is another "failure" video that a fellow ADE tweeted that I will add to the comments after I find it in my Twitter favorites.

    Looking forward to the blog posts for the rest of the chapters.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Thanks for joining us Megan! I need to get a copy of the Most Magnificent Thing. "What do you do with an idea?" is another similar book. Thanks for the resources you shared too!

  5. Thanks for sharing some resources! Looking forward to checking out those videos and "Dollar Store STEM"!