This year our administration laid out a strategic plan for us. They have chosen 3 initiatives that they would like all teachers to incorporate into their curricula.
- Global Initiative – Increasing the Global IQ of our students and fellow faculty members
- Authentic Learning Experiences – Not just completing math problems but being a mathematician. Not just learning about history, but being a historian.
- STREAM – Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics
Last year the emphasis was on our admissions “buckets.” The three buckets from last year were,
- Known and Challenged
- Relevant and Collaborative
- Responsive Community
This year our opening meeting and professional development was centered around increasing Global IQ. We had a day long professional development session with visiting lecturer and author Carl Hobert. He wrote the book Global IQ: Preparing Our Students for a Shrinking Planet.
A groundbreaking roadmap for improving global literacy and conflict-resolution skills in middle and high schools across the United States. In Raising Global IQ, Carl Hobert calls on K–12 teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike to transform the educational system by giving students the tools they need to become responsible citizens in a shrinking, increasingly interdependent world. Drawing on his nearly thirty years teaching, developing curricula, and leading conflict-resolution workshops here and around the world, he offers creative, well-tested, and understandable pedagogical ideas to help improve our children’s GIQ— Global Intelligence Quotient. Cognizant of many U.S. schools’ limited budgets and time, Hobert advocates teaching foreign languages early in life, honing students’ conflict-resolution skills, providing creative-service learning opportunities, and offering cultural-exchange possibilities in students’ own communities, as well as nationally and abroad—all before they graduate from high school.
Administrators have given us the task of working collaboratively to change 20% of what we do. Here are three new projects that I along with my brilliant co-workers are in the planning stages of that will come to fruition this year.
Digital Design: Seeing the Science, a collaboration with chemical engineer and researcher Hitome Mukaibo
For this project the Digital Design class is joining forces with a research team at the University of Rochester. Students will work side-by-side with graduate students from the Mukaibo Lab to develop visual aids for their research. These will range from animations, to posters, and scientific journal cover designs. Students in a Biology class will collaborate by creating microscopy imagery. Students in a 2D Art class will collaborate by helping to create medical illustrations. We are looking for a medical illustrator as well as a biomedical photographer to collaborate with. Areas Covered: STREAM, multidisciplinary, collaborative, local, global, energy
3D Art: Cardboard Chair Challenge
The 3D Art class will be given the task of working collaboratively to create a chair made of cardboard for each of the grade levels in Lower School (1st through 5th). They will use a process called “Design Thinking.” Design Thinking incorporates a non-linear process as illustrated below. The Upper School students will work to understand and empathize with the Lower Schoolers. They will build a comfortable and functional chair for each class. Students will work in teams of 2 or 3 and meet with the Lower School classes. The entire process should take us about a month as we work and rework through prototypes. Areas Covered: Design Thinking, Authentic Learning, collaboration, STREAM, industrial design, design, engineering, compassion
Art 6: Maasai project
The 6th grade students are embarking on a multidisciplinary project of massive proportions. A parent from our school, Dr. Cindy Ebinger who also happens to be a famous scientist came to us with a problem. The Maasai people who live around the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano are at risk. The volcano is very active and members of the Maasai tribe have been injured after coming in contact with the lava. She and her team are working to protect the Maasai by monitoring seismic activity and creating early warnings for eruptions. We are collaborating with English, science, art, drama, music, math in order to create informational posters about the equipment she uses and how it can help. We have a plethora of ideas and concepts that could take us into next year if we worked on them all. We are connecting and collaborating with Cultural Anthropologists, professional photographers, researchers and Volcanologists (that is someone who studies volcanos for a living). Everyone involved is very excited about this STREAM collaboration. Areas Covered: STREAM, global IQ, globalism, compassion, interdisciplinary, multicultural
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The best thing in my mind about each and every one of these projects is that I get to learn right along side of my students. These are all new territories for me (aside from the graphic design). As our new Middle School head, Ryan Burke, often reminds us as we go out into the world,
Be a learner, not a knower.