July 27

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Week 3: Putting the Pieces Together

Imagine you’re sitting down to start a puzzle. You’ve dumped the 1000 pieces on the table and
start grouping. Flat-edged pieces, piled together, establish the boundaries which everything will fit in.  All the blue ones are likely the sky, the green the grass; and, certain pieces can be set aside with no hesitation, “oh that’s the animal’s eye.”  Most importantly, you set your boxtop within view. Without looking at your box top you can guess how your piles fit together, but you can’t be certain.  And without checking the lid, just guessing how everything fits together won’t be the most effective or efficient way to assemble the pieces.   The boxtop picture guides you. It helps ensure that all the effort you put into collating the smaller pieces results in one satisfying unifed big picture, and it helps prevent leaving piles of pieces ignored on side table because no one can figure out how they fit together.The boxtop offers the vision of what you’re trying to achieve.

The goal of this week was to finalize the specific focus areas for my assignment. We needed to prioritize the hundreds of ideas from weeks before, and divide up how we could work together to make things happen for the Ed Fund.    As the newbie to the fund, I tried my best to see how everything fit together.  When the week started,  I felt as though I were staring at a pile of puzzle pieces but I was missing my puzzle boxtop.   I knew I had certain pieces to the puzzle colored with potential improvement areas:  enhancements to help our volunteer base, new ideas to present to principals and teachers,  and corporate partnerships to establish.  I had a sense for the boundaries of my assignment and what fell inside my remit puzzle and what did not, but the border pieces are always the easiest aren’t they?  It’s those unique smaller pieces that are the toughest to fit in, the hardest to see where you should put them.  I couldn’t yet see how all of these great ideas fit nicely into one unified picture; I needed my proverbial boxtop.

Don and I talking about the project

I turned to the guidance of my Ed Fund partner Don to describe to me how he sees the lid of our project puzzle. What is our vision? What are we aiming to create? How will all of this fit together clearly?  With his wealth of knowledge, Don’s past experience and forward-looking aspirations painted a picture of our future. As I barraged him with questions, his patience perservered, a valuable trait required of any good puzzle solver. Eventually each pile of ideas grew, and I grouped them into categories. He materialize our piles of ideas into one vision for my assignment; he gave me my boxtop.

We ended the week victoriously. I understood what my boundaries were, the elements of our vision, and most importantly how I fit into the picture.  Together, we solved the puzzle.

INTERACTIVE FEATURE: Click the photo below to solve my puzzle!

*****Interactive Feature ********* CLICK TO PLAY! Solve my Puzzle!