Early in the summer I became really excited at the idea of turning my Humanities class into an arts-integrated environment with a focus on identity exploration, collaborative learning, team-building, and space to practice essential life skills. I began compiling ideas from various places: a conference I attended, several books I had read, resources shared from colleagues and friends, and I could not wait to get started.
In planning for the start of the school year there were some items that needed to be covered for our new students as well as our returning. In an effort to take get through those things quickly, I decided to squeeze a mini-practice project into Humanities in the first few weeks to allow students to walk through the project process, and it was a disaster. I will spare the details, but there was lot of confusion, frustration, and many final products that were incomplete or unsuccessful. How did I expect them to complete a “lightning” round of something they had never seen before? For a class I was so excited to begin, I found myself counting down the days until that darn project was over – and I KNOW many of them felt the same way! In fact, we all admitted it the final day.
It wasn’t pretty, and while they spent time reflecting on their own project work over the past two weeks, I openly reflected with them, as well. I need to do this differently next year, no doubt. I probably should have brought a stop to it mid-project instead of continuing to let it play out. That’s the beauty in honest, open reflection – making yourself better.
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This week we all took the True Colors personality assessment. It is an inventory that is designed to help people better understand themselves, develop self-awareness, build an appreciation for diverse personality traits, and to improve communication skills based on our differences. For such a quick and simple activity, it is amazing how accurate the results tend to be. At the end of the activity, each person determines their two dominant colors. Though all of us have are a combination of all four colors, each of us tends to lean more strongly toward at least two.
For those who don’t know, the four colors can be broken down as follows:
Orange: Impulse – Oriented
Blue: Relationship – Oriented
Green: Cognitive – Oriented
Gold: Structure – Oriented
My parents who are probably reading this would likely not be surprised to hear my two dominant colors are blue and orange. They raised an impulsive, eager, and emotional drama queen. I have very vivid memories of moments in my life at home or at school where my “orange qualities” got me into some trouble. I wonder if those moments could have played out differently had I known more about how my unique personality traits impact myself and others around me.
After conducting the True Colors activity, my students were absolutely fascinated by their color descriptions, and most were blown away at how accurate they were. It helped offer “reasons” for some of their behaviors or feelings, and it opened beautiful conversations about how understanding our differences can help us communicate better. As one student put it, “It kind of helps you know what to do or what not to do around other people.” This is what I was looking forward to – learning about ourselves, learning about each other, and improving ourselves daily.
If you’re curious about your True Colors, take a gander! There are numerous versions of the “test” that exist. Here is a simple one that will require a pen and paper … Good luck!