This month, our staff participated in a Breakout EDU challenge related to the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. The Breakout EDU kit allows for the facilitation of games where players use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open the locked box. We have Breakout EDU kits available in each building. We look forward to designing challenges for our students next.
In September, the 3rd and 4th grade students at West School designed and built fidget spinners. The fidget spinners had to fit in one hand, use only the materials provided, and spin for 5 seconds. This lesson corresponded with the Next Generation Science Standards. The students also read an article and completed a writing prompt titled “Is It Fair to Ban Fidget Spinners?” We had a blast creating our own fidget spinners!
The South and West School Crawford Learning Center is proud to continue our newest learning spaces, The Innovation Station. This is a space to foster the 4Cs - collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication - as our students tinker with everyday items to solve challenges. Students will be introduced to the engineering design process that involves asking questions, imagining possible solutions, planning, creating and improving on a plan. The maker movement is all about teaching our children to think for themselves, to think creatively, and to look for innovative solutions.
This year, all our students have their own Google Drive accounts. These web-based apps provide many ways to go paperless through sharing and collaboration options. Teachers are scheduling time with the CLC director and Tech Integration Specialist to introduce these tools. Student reviewed Internet safety and learned the basic functions of Google Drive. We look forward to seeing how these tools grow at South School!
Parents often ask how we choose apps for our school iPads. The App Store currently has 1.5 million apps to choose from! Many of these apps are focused on lower-level thinking skills. We search for apps that require problem solving and creative thinking. The first question teachers need to ask is not, “What apps do I use?”, but rather, “What is my learning goal?” Finding the app to support the learning goal helps teachers stay focused on learning.
We carefully research apps before making a purchase. One great place for educators to research an app is Graphite. Common Sense Media, in partnership with Bill Gates, launched Graphite, a free service that makes it easier for educators to find the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their classrooms. Check it out!