Monday, February 20, 2012

Destination ImagiNation

Myself and Megan (partners in crime)
For the past 3 years I have had the AWESOME opportunity to be a Destination ImagiNation Team Manager.  What better way to spend your time working with kids working on crazy ideas, watching them grow, and then spending a day with crazy cool people wearing crazy cool hats!

A few years ago my principal approached the staff asking for team managers of Destination ImagiNation.  I of course volunteered (surprise, surprise) But I was SO glad that I did! What is Destination ImagInation?

"Welcome to Destination ImagiNation!

Destination ImagiNation, Inc. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year, we reach 125,000 students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Destination ImagiNation, our core program, is an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving. To read more about Destination ImagiNation"
The school district that I am has a great program with lots of supports.  This year there were so many things that our district offered to get our teams ready.  A DI team presents a Team Challenge that they work on for more than 3 months (usually) and the day of competition has an Instant Challenge.  
This year Audra (an AWESOME advocate for all kiddos) offered a Instant Challenge Workshop for teachers.  During this time she put out materials for Team Managers so we could work on Instant Challenges with our teams.  

How great was this! So Organized and so many great materials!  Audra even had an AWESOME hat made out of a gift bag.  It is amazing to see all of the crazy hats that people are wearing on competition day.

While preparing for the DI tournament students learn to work together, learn to budget and so much more!  The challenge our team chose was creating a movie trailer!  During team meetings they learned how to sew, learned about different cultures, learned how to record music, learned how to build sets and of course learned that they could do it!  What is great about DI is that it is all students (now.. sometimes that doesn't mean that I didn't want to pull my own hair out)  I was able to teach them skills, but in the end it was all about the students could do.  No interference allowed!

Irving also offered an Instant Challenge Workshop this year for students to practice instant challenges.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

My team didn't place this year, but I am still so proud of them! I know they learn a ton about working together and coming up with a solution to a problem (without killing anyone) but I also learn a ton from them!  It always amazes me to see what they come up with to solve a problem.  DI gives me a chance to see students in a different way. 

DI is of course all about the students, but to be a successful DI team you need some supportive parents! I have been so lucky for 3 years now to have parents that volunteer the kiddos time (sometimes those meetings last until 9 or 10), volunteer their time (and vehicles, and sanity, and tools, and time.. and the list could go on!) and volunteer so much more!  From the bottom of my heart.. thank you to ALL of the volunteers that make DI possible!

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