Real-world, Project-based Lessons Inspire Creativity
Every year is a learning experience for our students and a time for reflection for our teachers as well, and 2016 was no exception. The biggest lesson I have learned this year is that our students thrive when engaging in project-based learning. They embrace creativity and are inspired to investigate new careers in a much more frequent manner than we have seen before at the middle school level.
Using the Defined STEM framework, our students are able to put their knowledge to the test and show what they’ve learned using real-world examples. In 2017, I plan on having more professionals on hand for our students to talk to after their exposure to STEM activities, so they can have real conversations about careers they are interested in and may potentially pursue! —Shandon Tweedy, Assistant Principal at Horace Mann Middle School in Kanawha County Schools (WV)
Technology Connects Students Across the Globe
The biggest lesson we learned at Annunciation Day School in 2016 is that technology helps us to experience the world in a deeper way, and the Promethean ActivBoards in our classrooms make this possible. For example, this week our seventh-grade students used Promethean ActivPanels in social studies to virtually fly to Cairo, Egypt, using Google Earth. Students were so excited to be able to zoom in on the main airport in Cairo where they saw the pilot training center. Students also explored the city from above and even found a Pizza Hut where they can stop for lunch if they get the opportunity to visit Cairo in the future.
Earlier this month, another seventh-grade class connected online to the Uganda Project through the ActivWall. This project provides education for 200 children who are cared for at the center, and also supplies their basic needs including housing, meals, clean water, clothing, and school supplies. Our students watched a video of Ugandan students who are involved in this project perform cultural dances and music. When they saw their peers in Uganda learning in a more disadvantaged and less sanitary environment, it initiated meaningful conversations about cultural differences in clothing, food, and education. The use of the ActivWall allows our students to see parts of the world in a bigger way and creates interesting discussions. We look forward to many more journeys to other parts of the world as we enter 2017! —Peter Epstein, Principal of Annunciation Day School in Atlanta, GA
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