The Birth of an Idea

A number of years ago I was interviewed for a Principal position. In response to a question I described in detail the progress of our school’s Eagle’s Nest. If you’ve heard me speak about the EN you’ll know how much pride I take in the collaborative work we’d done to get it up and running. After my rather lengthy discourse which included a brief rant on the importance of self-regulation – the driving force behind the EN, one of the interviewers asked me if the Eagle’s Nest had been my idea? Wow, I didn’t see that question coming. I froze, stumbling for a response. I was taking the lead in self-reg and behaviour so the idea had to have been mine! <insert big pause followed by some ah, um, em>. When I hesitated with my answer I was prompted with, ‘if it was yours, you can tell us’.

Oh the temptation to take full credit…

BUT, was it really my idea? How DID we come up with the Eagles’ Nest concept? I wish you could see my smile as I recall how the EN was birthed.

At Shortreed we practised collaborative teamwork; it was messy, it always included a lot of verbal processing and more often than not was impromptu. Our boardroom was most often the hallway, but could be the resource room, my VP office, the library, the staff room. Team members shifted depending on the time of day, or who was passing by whilst collaboration was happening. Everyone was welcome to add their thoughts, and YES, most everyone had a lot of thoughts. We were in fact a chatty bunch.

Back to the Eagle’s Nest…I imagine the discussion went something like this:

Staff A: We need to do something about finding a place for our kids to regulate.

Staff B: Yeah. We’re using MindUp, but we need more.

Staff C: Wildly with enthusiasm…we need to buy a spin bike!!! HAVE YOU SEEN THEM!!!

Staff A: How much do they cost?

Staff C: Who cares. We need one! Now.

Staff B: Where will we put it?

Staff C: I know, I know, let’s put in the Youth Care Worker’s new room. Oh, oh, oh, we can set up a circuit.

All together, speaking over each other: A circuit. We need weights. The rebounder. I’ll bring weights….

Thus the birth of the Eagle’s Nest (you’re welcome to read more here)

Whose idea was the Eagle’s Nest? It was all of ours.

Fast forward to the spring of 2015. Picture many, messy, collaborative, impromptu meetings with a new cast of characters. As a school we had been dabbling with passion projects, genius hours and makerspaces. We were also continuing our commitment to self-regulation. Plus, there was the lure of pushing the boundaries of innovation.

Visualize the huddles. The messy, loud, verbal, circular, animated interactions needed to tease out what we really wanted to do. As ‘they’ say, the devil is in the details.

The outcome: a new birth, cleverly named, 

Club Wednesday!

Club Wednesday met for the first time in October 2015. It continues to run weekly on Wednesdays for just over an hour. CW is the blending of Genius Hour, Makerspace, Passion Projects, Play, the Arts, and more. It is a school wide, multi-grade, student choice program.

Club Wednesday runs in 7 week rotations three times a year.  Round #1  is 6 weeks of club plus a 7th week which is a Showcase for community members and parents.

Thanks to an enthusiastic staff, rotation #1 has the following clubs:

  • Happy Scrappers,
  • Lego League,
  • Paper Arts & Crafts,
  • Hammer Time!,
  • Guitar Alliance,
  • Games,
  • Group Green,
  • Glee,
  • Animal Kingdom,
  • Super Skippers,
  • Art,
  • Cooking,
  • Sports.

Much thanks goes to the staff who came up with some awesome, kid-friendly opportunities and developed those into a Club format. This was a first for most of the staff. I’d say this was modelling risk-taking at its finest! (What’s a comfort zone, eh?)

Kudo’s to Shortreed’s Principal, Tanya Rogers for fanning the idea right from the first spark, freeing up the schedule, and leading by example (she’s taking on the cooking group). She has worked tirelessly at finding the dollars to get groups going. And speaking of dollars, a big thanks to the Shortreed PAC for supporting Club Wednesday with funds and encouragement!

By all reports Club Wednesday is off to a great start. I’ll post pictures in an update, because they tell the story so much better than my words.


Oh, if you’re wondering about my interview. I didn’t get the job. Maybe if I’d have just taken the credit.
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