Connectors Build to Last

Multipliers build to last because they are curious, and they are connectors. We are designing learning experiences with your children that connect foundational skills to real-world opportunities and future possibilities. As you know we launched a new schedule prototype designed by our most fabulous maker, Jim Tiffin,  this year to experiment with extending the minutes and build continuity in connections classes (i.e. music, art, maker, science and Spanish). The previous model allowed for about 30 minutes every week. The new model provides connections teachers with 300 instructional minutes for one full week for deep project work. Classes then rotate every five weeks.

This extra time provides more opportunities for student curiosity and passion to drive learning. It also enables our teachers to have increased ownership over their own curriculum. Our outdoor playspace Frontier and newly renovated STEAM wing [the art studio, science lab, and studio(i)] are also inspiring creativity in all of us. Teachers are thinking more innovatively with five-hour chunks of time rather than 30 minutes.

Piper Hendryx, fourth grade Mustang, describes her love of maker classes in studio(i), “If I had to tell someone about studio(i), I would tell them they will have the time of their life here! It lets your creativity go wild. It sets you free!” She goes on to explain her maker project with four magical objects and how she writes computer code in Scratch to manipulate those objects. She also loves working with PicoBoards, and its various sensors like light and sound, to help her programs interact with the physical world. This connects to the science and engineering happening in homerooms as well as the science lab. Next, Piper plans to bring one of her stories she wrote in her literacy block to life using the tools in studio(i).”


The Impact of Research and Design, Part II

“What innovation are you known for?” When is the last time you had to answer a question such as that one?

As representatives from Preschool through Grade 12 met together during our Social Science Research and Design meeting, we were each challenged to share an innovation that we had launched. It did not matter if the initiative had succeeded or failed, but the expectation set with that opening question was clear.

After starting with questions, our time was intentionally spent. Check out the desired outcomes of the day.

Desired Outcome 1: Stoke the vision of what our R & D could and should be.

Desired Outcome 2: Create a culture that reflects Innovator’s DNA. (Association, Observing, Questioning, Experimenting, and Networking)

Desired Outcome 3: Do something no social science educator has done before; create a new product or process.

Desired Outcome 4: Write learning outcomes that infuse mindsets, including a global mindset.

Desired Outcome 5: Create a scope and sequence for learning outcomes for 2014-15 fall and spring organized by real-world, integrated units.

Desired Outcome 6: Map your best unit including assessments for the desired learning outcomes.

Desired Outcome 7: Create proficiency scales for each one of your learning outcomes.

Desired Outcome 7: Group learning outcomes into 6 mindsets.

Desired Outcome 8: Rewrite the learning outcomes as essential questions.

Research and Design Team Members have their work cut out for them, but what exciting work!