D3@PSP: DJ’ing our sessions

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We are just stepping into the Do It phase and we’re realizing that with the tedious folding of the cranes, there’s a lot of quiet air to fill without our usual discussions, games and activities. With an outstanding attendance of 7-8 teens both days, we knew keeping the whole group focused on our goal for the entire session would be a challenge, but thankfully, we’ve discovered the unifying effects of music. We have a lot of budding young musicians at PSP who crave to be involved in modern music, so to fill that desire, we’ve signed up for Spotify and Pandora, allowing the teens to take turns DJ’ing our sessions. We had a bit of a rocky first day with this new element, but we have coached the teens how to log in and out of the music players, how to search for clean versions of their favorite songs and have discussed as a group what we find offensive and inappropriate because everyone has different standards. The second day was much smoother; we saw new friendships form over music being played and teens who are usually quiet that spoke up or even sang along!

We had a goal of creating 40-60 cranes per session (6-8 cranes per person), but came up a little short with about 30 per session. The crane, being the complicated origami piece that it is, has taken much longer to fold than we anticipated. As part of our positive behavior system at PSP, we award well-behaved kids and teens with a ‘star’ per session. To tackle the ~200 cranes that are required for our design, we decided to offer extra stars for teens who take origami paper and fold at home, emphasizing the importance of quality over quantity. We are hoping this is a successful tactic so we can install within the next 2 weeks!

Categories: do it, PSP


The D3 Lab is a collaboration between the Pearson Foundation's New Learning Institute, COMMONstudio design consultancy, and Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles. It is one part idea lab, one part design and production facility, and one part "do tank." It is a place where students come to nurture and cultivate ideas, tackle big and small problems, and take action.

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