Middle School has changed dramatically from when I first stepped foot into Westwood Middle back in the 1980’s. While technology is a driving factor in the changes, the majority of improvements come from a better understanding of how students learn and what their needs are. From teachers looking to improve their classroom experience to families shopping for the best school for their student, here are four tips for designing a more engaging classroom.
Throughout my years at Shorecrest, I’ve had the chance to listen to a lot of conversations about honesty and to observe different cases brought in front of the Honor Council. I’ve been able to understand that one of the major reasons that honesty and integrity are such a vital part of our community is because honor is really all about trust.
Remarks from Convocation 2016 -
Let me put forth an early disclaimer. This is not a political speech. I am not advocating for a particular candidate. When I was thinking about what I wanted to say to you as we begin this academic of year of such great promise, I was genuinely conflicted. On the one hand, the ugly political climate that we have all witnessed thus far, coupled with the concern that any comment I make about the presidential race could be construed as either supporting or denouncing one of the candidates, made me not want to touch this topic with a ten-foot pole.
ABOUT THE CHALLENGE:
As a school leader, I strive to spend time in all of our Lower School classrooms getting to know teachers and students, as well as learning how I can best support them and help the school grow. One of the benefits of being a small Kindergarten-4th Grade elementary school is that I am able to get to know students as learners overtime. When I discovered that there was a national “Shadow a Student Challenge” put out to all administrators, I quickly threw my hat in.
For one day during the week of February 29-March 4, administrators were asked to clear our schedules, silence our walkie-talkies, throw on sneakers, and immerse ourselves in student life for a day. This is the first year of the Shadow a Student Challenge, which was sponsored by School Retool, a professional development nonprofit created by the Institute of Design at Stanford University, as well as Ideo, a design and innovation consulting firm; and the Hewlett Foundation.
Since last year, Shorecrest has sought to expand its curriculum by experimenting with the use of projects, rather than lectures, in teaching. Projects, unlike lectures, are built around the idea of students cooperatively working to learn subjects. As part of a new initiative, each Upper School teacher is required to work in at least one project into his or her curriculum.