From the quarks to quasars, the universe is urging us to live creatively. It’s the power of imagination that has been deciphering the greatest mysteries of mankind.
Watching a robot doing interesting stuff is fun. Isn’t it? But do you like to be a robot? Someone controlling you; ordering you to play tennis with a hockey stick. Believe it or not! Most of us lack the creative environment in our schools which results in poor creative skills.
A for Apple is a startup that aims to improve creative skills in children.
We reached out to students of secondary classes and discussed the issue of rote learning with them. All of them were in the favor of eradicating this deep-rooted problem from the education system. Furthermore, teachers also acknowledged the lack of appreciation for creativity among the students. This unfortunate situation demands a unique solution. After research and constant discussions, we came to a conclusion.
We decided to initiate an online and physical program which will boost the creative side of students. Naming the program was the ultimate challenge for us. There were a lot of suggestions making the decision difficult day by day. One of our circle member Muhammad Bari asked us all what A for was and we all at once replied Apple! he told us that it was the beginning of rote learning in our lives. That’s how he saved all.
A for Apple is a startup that aims to improve creative skills in children. Our primary focus is to provide an environment where children can share their original ideas without hesitation. We decided to focus on differential learning, in which instead of letting someone repeat the correct way to do something over and over again, you actively tell them to think and come up with their solutions whether right or wrong and then explain to them the right and the most efficient solution.
It is filled with fun writing activities, games, animations, and many more. It was decided that by the end of the two months program, students will be able to develop the habit of reading, writing original pieces on different topics, improving grammar, and establish self-confidence to put forward their very own ideas.
Amal Academy Circle 7 was divided into 4 groups where each had specific challenges to face. Well-coordinated and collective efforts yield promising results despite personal issues and commitments.
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of them and throw the bad ones away.”
Preparation of Google Forms
It was quite difficult for us to find students who are interested and willing to invest time in this program. Sarah’s cousins were ready to participate but the numbers were still minor. We decided to prepare google forms and spread it along with the poster. Sarah and Hammad teamed up to get their work done quickly. They created an official email account for preparing enrollment forms.
After constant feedback and refinement, Sarah prepared well-organized and structured questions for the forms. Altogether approximately 30 responses came. Those questions later helped us to select students from responses who truly lack creative skills.
The Power of Social Media
The power of social media can be well explained by the Arab Spring. We used this tool to spread our idea. Ramesh and Asad geared up for this task. They created Facebook and Instagram pages of the startup with a brief description. Although it is not well-established, daily views on different posts are increasing. Social media also helped us to get more students interested in our concept.
Creative Activities Set
The biggest challenge we faced was the selection of appropriate creative skills enhancing activities. I talked to a few of my teachers, and linguistic expert Miss Tazeen. They encouraged and guided me to go through different websites and reading material. Asking personal questions which ignites passion is essential. For example, asking about favorite superheroes, food, games, relatives etc.
I assigned all the circle members to go for interesting activities and fun games. Some of the suggestions include free-writing, fractured fairy-tale, vocabulary boost, storytelling, fluency, elaboration writing, short story reflections, dumb charades, a sentence from words etc.
To overcome the communication barrier between students and teachers, Muhammad Bari come up with engaging fun-based learning activities like finding out as many why as they can from their surrounding, explaining scientific concepts by giving examples from environment, Intelligence questions, brain teasers that encourages to think outside the box, quick math tricks, replacing the word with the synonym in the sentence, and facts and information needed to become a good human being.
Fariya and Hammad set up google docs where all the progress is documented. Circle 7 is supposed to share their contributions there. Members also provide valuable feedback on each other’s progress so that a better strategy is carried out. This task is essential because it will help us retain memory of our program.
In The End
In future we will be strategizing, planning and managing which activity needs to be done first and how much time is needed for the particular activity. It is also important to make these activities enjoyable and relevant. We will constantly be checking the effectiveness of our program and working on the areas of improvement.
Our journey to train young minds is all set to go. We hope to conduct our first online session very soon. We believe this little effort will shape the minds of young students to invest time and efforts to think original and turn their dreams into reality.