I watched a really amazing video over the weekend. Peter Dahmen is a paper engineer who makes incredibly complex pop-up cards. The first time I watched, I was not listening to what Mr. Dahmen was saying. I was too distracted by the paper sculptures he was holding throughout the video. Then I played the video again, and paid closer attention. A few things popped out (haha) at me.
First, Mr. Dahmen makes a living out of cutting and gluing paper. This in itself is amazing. Second, his work was born from not having someone with a car drop him off at school with is assignment neatly held in his lap, wrapped in a big trash bag. It made me feel slightly better about the times my own children have had to walk to the bus stop carrying unwieldy projects. Maybe my kids have learned from those experiences. Maybe.
Third, and most important, is that Mr. Dahmen has developed his skill by doing, by revising and iterating and being unafraid to fail. We have mentioned learning by doing so many times in our discussions of Deeper Learning. Let’s keep this example in mind, and let’s remember to create environments in our classrooms where it is okay to fail and try again.