Thursday, September 4, 2014

Catch the first day buzz...

I love the first day of school!  The eager faces, the excited buzz.  All the possibilities of the wonderful year ahead. 

At our teacher days before school started we read two articles:  How a Bigger Purpose Can Motivate Students to Learn and The Challenges and Realities of Inquiry-Based Learning.  The first reminded us that students who want to make a difference in the world are highly motivated learners.  The second reinforced that students gain social maturity when they learn in a project-based setting. 

As the teachers talked to me about their goals for the year, both of the themes emerged.  Here are a few examples:
  • 7th graders will have a weekly STEM workshop for robotics and coding, animation with Google Sketch Up, and game design with Scratch and GameMaker.
  • In middle school health class, students will organize a Health Fair to educate the broader community about making healthy decisions and living healthy lifestyles.
  • Students in all grades will practice mindfulness habits.  Linda Lantieri, author of Building Emotional Intelligence will help build teachers' skills at a workshop in December.
  • In science classes students will practice specific habits of mind such as persisting, listening with empathy, and questioning.
  • 4-5's will work on designing an improved, discovery-centered play space for the North Playground by generating ideas, conducting an interest and feasibility survey, and researching costs and funding.
And that's just a sample of what's ahead!

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