What a great first day of NOMAD! We accomplished many things: group bonding, flag study, a bit of Howard Zinn's book A Young People's History of the United States, communication challenges, expectations, writing, multiple-intelligences questionnaire, goal setting and PLAY!
As a group, we looked at the many different flags that we found today on a walk and used them to theorize about what a flag is, its purpose, and the reasons why a person or group decides to fly a flag. Students had many ideas and insights like "flags are symbols" and "some flags represent countries, some represent interests, some represent property, and some are advertisements" and "flags are about identity." The flags we found today spanned a good range: American flags, a Brazilian flag, an Australian flag, Giants flags and an Oregon Ducks flag, real estate signs (they look a bit like flags!) the California Flag, gas station advertisements, school flags, and a decorative (hummingbird) flag.
We explored a bit about democracy during a challenge asking all the kids to fit into an increasingly smaller circle.
They later drew the connection between our game and the the idea of democracy after we read Zinn's defense of teaching young people to be critical of our government and our country's past. They noticed that they had to propose new rules and ideas to complete the challenge as our circle grew smaller, requiring them to vote and agree on their next move.
At times, I gave them an instruction that wouldn't work, causing them to work with or respectfully against me to amend the expectation. The circle became so small, they reached a consensus to remove a hair to put in the circle so they could "all be in it!"
We left the day with a list of questions to investigate--the sign of a successful provocation for our topic of study!