Some highlights from the hack jam:

  • We laughed enough to make our neighbor come close our door.
  • Two groups danced, and one of those groups also added a construction paper dance floor to the game board for the little figures.
  • One group moved from figuring out how to compete to figuring out how to work together.
  • People balanced beetle-monster statues on their heads.
  • One group made bracelets and rings - the meanings of which were kept secret from me.
  • For the second hack jam in a row, the Star Wars board wound up having hyper bridges between squares.

Hyper bridges!

More significantly, perhaps, the entire group did a great job discussing the hack jam in relation to teaching, learning, writing, and making. We came away with profoundly compelling questions about what we should do with our time, what we are asked to do with our time, and what is best for kids. What should the system change? What do we need to change about our practice? How do we balance the lessons and codes we feel we must teach to all of our kids in order to give them the best shot at leading successful and fulfilling lives?

I felt humbled to be included in the conversation; I tried to facilitate it without steering it. The honesty, vulnerability, and support shared between teachers wondering what technology and making mean to writing, teaching, learning, and schools seemed brave and true and right. The questions and responses shared between participants seemed like inviting paths into more inquiry, learning, and new practice. 

I think in schools we forget that play can lead to serious, rigorous, passionate learning because we assume that the best way to get rigor is to begin with seriousness.

I look forward to more conversations with this cohort about how hacking, making, and play can help us each find a way into thinking, talking, teaching, and learning more about ourselves, about writing, and about our students as writers.