The study of mathematics involves the balance of procedural skill, fluency, conceptual understanding, and application. Engaging students to make sense of math, rather than teaching them to memorize concepts, helps create mathematical thinkers. An important key to understanding mathematical concepts is a problem-solving approach in the classroom.
The way students read, write, and access information has changed rapidly in our growing digital world. To meet the needs of 21st-Century learning, the role of the librarian is changing and libraries are transforming to better meet the needs of students. They are converting into flexible learning spaces to encourage the gathering and sharing of knowledge. Librarians continue to inspire a passion for learning and are also incorporating teaching strategies for students to navigate the digital world. Librarians encourage students’ learning in the following ways.
Did you know that swinging a hammer in a woodworking shop has a wide range of benefits for students? Woodworking provides the ability to identify a problem, brainstorm the possible solutions, and test your ideas. These skills lend themselves to all aspects of life, both inside the classroom and out. Woodworking classes have recently regained popularity because they build essential life lessons along with reinforcing math, science, and problem-solving skills. In fact, a study from Purdue University showed students benefited from participating in hands-on engineering projects. A woodworking program benefits students in the following ways:
When asked, "Should our family invest (i.e. pay tuition) in our children's early years of education or wait until "it counts" when they're in high school preparing to go to college?" Emphatically I say, "Invest in the early years." This is an incredibly difficult question for anyone to answer knowing that each and every learning stage is valuable; however, when posed with ranking when education "counts" most, it is absolutely and definitively during those first years of life, and here's why.
Summer presents a whirlwind of choices for families including day camps, special interest camps, downtime, and family vacations. Students have the opportunity to pursue the interests they love, make social bonds at camps, and create family memories that will last a lifetime.
There’s no denying that reading is an essential skill for academic success, but the best part of my role as the librarian is showing students how much fun it is to immerse themselves in a good book. My strategies vary based on the age, reading level, and individual style of each student, but below are four of my favorite ways to get kids excited when they visit the library.
Have you ever wondered what teachers look for when considering a school for their own children?
Consistently, teachers agree it is important to visit a school on a typical school day when students are present. No surprise...these teachers also feel you should do your homework. Start with a list of questions that are relevant to your child’s development. After all, you know your child best. Here are some of the questions they suggest:
The transition from kindergarten to first grade can make parents and students feel excited and a little nervous about leaving “early childhood” and becoming a “big kid.” At Sanford School, teachers think about helping students do three things to ensure that students all transition smoothly: seeing a familiar face, feeling comfortable in the space, and getting used to the pace.
Seeing a Familiar Face
Students often feel less anxious about going to a new classroom when they know a little bit about the new teacher that they’ll have. To help with this, kindergartners have recess along with the first and second grades so that teachers can start to connect with the students they’ll have in a year or two. In addition, faculty members who teach “specials” like art, music, and technology constantly remind students that even though the homeroom teachers change, the specials teachers will remain the same, so they can plan to see many familiar faces the following year. To help drive home this point, the specials teachers always participate in greeting during morning drop off the first week of school so that students going into a new grade can see teachers that they had the previous year
The Four C’s
For years the world of school was focused on the Three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. But in today’s world it’s not enough to read a book, write a story, and do a few math problems; we need to prepare our students for an ever-evolving global society. Now, education organizations around the country, including the National Education Association (NEA) are talking about the Four C’s:
- Critical Thinking
The Fifth C: Chocolate!
In the Third Grade we tackle the Four C’s and more through thematic learning. Thematic learning is when students focus on one theme that connects multiple subject areas. For example, in our Chocolate Economics unit we use the overarching theme of chocolate to bridge several content areas. Some highlights of the unit include:
- Science: Investigation of the cacao bean and its rainforest habitat, including the layers of the forest, the geography and weather conditions needed to sustain a tropical rainforest, and the importance of sustainability and conservation of these areas;
- Social Studies: Discussion of the history of chocolate, from the Aztecs and Mayans to the explorers who brought chocolate to various countries and continents;
- Reading and Performing Arts: Reader’s Theater performances—complete with costumes and music—of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Great Kaypok Tree;
- Economics (including research, writing, and math): Participation in the full scope of activities related to the business of chocolate-making, such as conducting market research, production of actual chocolate creations, branding & advertising via print and television, and, eventually, a Market Day where students sell their chocolate and calculate their profits, which are donated to charity organizations selected by the students.
DESIGN THINKING INSPIRES
Design Thinking is a teaching approach that incorporates the engineering design process in hands-on, collaborative projects. Students are guided through the design steps to problem solve. The process is meant to be repeated to create the best possible solution. Project-based and problem-based learning engages students while providing essential Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills that inspire innovation.