Scout’s Report: April 2018 We’re firing up the time travel machine and skipping ahead to the next school year to take a peek at four exciting things we’re looking forward to: launching our social entrepreneurship capstone experience for our very first group of TCS eighth-graders, the third year of Singapore Math, expanding our STEAM program with help from the Goizueta Foundation, and teaching Chinese to our age 3 grade two students. Enjoy your trip into the future, and let us know what you’re looking forward to next year!
Scout’s Report - April 2018
What to Expect in Year One of the Goizueta Grant TCS announced in November that we are the proud recipient of a $450,000 grant from the Goizueta Foundation for STEAM initiatives and financial aid. STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, and is a nationwide movement designed to give students more exposure to these areas in an integrated, designfocused way.
STEAM is an expansion of STEM articulated by John Maeda, former President of the Rhode Island School of Design who believed that the STEM structure didn’t place enough emphasis on the importance of the creative process and aesthetics in science and design. Thus the “A” for “Arts” was added to STEM to form STEAM, which, with the underscoring of the importance of creativity, was a natural fit for TCS. This STEAM initiative fits The Children’s School’s long history of hands-on education and the integration of content. The opportunity to be more systematic and intentional about the interconnections between science, math, technology, and engineering, and to extend the role of the arts more deeply into the broader curriculum will enhance our ability to meet our commitment to laying the critical early groundwork for developing thoughtful, creative young adults who are ready to impact the broader world around them. The grant funds five areas, which will be implemented over the next three years. These areas are: • Maker and Tinker carts that include Zoobs, Kinex, and other exploratory building materials distributed around campus • Photography and imaging equipment for the digital visual arts like cameras, lighting kits, and digital processing technology; robotics and drone equipment; fabrication equipment like dye cutters, sewing machines, fabric pattern cutters • Science exploratory tools like digital imaging microscopes,field science tools, and sensor probes to explore physics, chemistry, water testing, and environmental studies
• Drone hardware, kits, safety equipment, and supplies • Coding and robotics workshop equipment like Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey, Little Bits, and other programming and coding resources We are already underway with a number of these items. The lower grades have been working with Little Bits, an award-winning design and coding platform that allows children to create electronic robots and other movable gadgets and to program their movement. The Middle Grades began using the water-testing tools for water quality testing in Piedmont Park as part of their recent immersive project-based learning (I-PBL) unit on food and water access, and has began using some of the photographic gear as part of their current unit on sustainability and journalistic reporting. Moving forward into next year, you will see the Maker and Tinker carts distributed around campus, an increase in robotics and coding opportunities across the grades, and the addition of field science and data gathering as part of our outdoor education experience. Over the next three years, we are excited for the increased opportunities for our students in STEAM!
Scout’s Report - April 2018
How Chinese Shows Up in the Classroom: A Letter from Yingli Dear Parents,
I am very excited to start the Chinese (Mandarin) program this coming school year! Before our new Chinese program starts, you may have a lot of questions to ask. The question everyone has is: “how will TCS students age 3 – grade 2 learn Chinese inside the classroom?” I believe that each student is different, each teacher is different, each person is different, and every language is different. Yet, in this globalized world, people of all different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds connect, intersect, and interact. As a passionate Chinese teacher, I believe that teaching Chinese as a world language should provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their full range of language skills and culture proficiencies. In Chinese class, our three-year-old students will think and learn through their five senses by using objects in the world around them. We know that young kids have amazing learning abilities. They can learn language through singing songs, nursery rhymes, and having daily routines. They also can learn language through hands-on activities, dance, and movement. In the Chinese classroom, children are encouraged to manipulate physical props or toys and move around while listening and absorbing new vocabulary. Singing, movement, and playing with beautiful and colorful visual aids and props are the best methods to teach younger kids a foreign language. Our 3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s students develop memories and use symbols while learning. At this age, children are introduced to new vocabulary, based on early childhood themes in a fully immersive setting. Chinese class components will include
basic conversation, music, dance and movement, interactive storytelling, dramatic play, hands-on activities, crafts, and games for introducing and reinforcing new vocabulary and phrases. They will learn Chinese through beautiful and colorful age-appropriates teaching materials and aids. Repetition is key for all younger learners, so there will be plenty of songs, rhymes, raps, repetitions, and a lot of action involved. Repeated actions and movements help them to stay focused and lengthen their attention spans. Our kindergarten through second grade students can organize information in more logical and systematic ways. At this age, our young scholars take theme-based learning further by classifying objects on more complex levels and testing out new ideas. Chinese class components will include conversation, dramatic play, logical thinking activities, as well as basic reading and writing. Through meaningful and age- appropriate classroom activities such as role-plays, conversational practices, interviews, projects, music, dance, kung fu, crafts, cooking, calligraphy painting, interactive storytelling, story reading, hands-on activities, games, cultural artifacts, movies, and field trips, students can gain a better understanding of Chinese people and connect and compare Chinese culture with their native culture at the same time. We all know that happy kids learn more. So, learning through play is what I try to accomplish everyday with my students. I look forward to starting a joyful and meaningful Chinese program with your child! Have a wonderful summer break! Yingli Laoshi
Scout’s Report - April 2018
Math = Thinking: The State of Math Instruction at TCS The ultimate goal of good math instruction is the development of critical thinking and problemsolving skills coupled with the math tools to solve real-world problems. Our math instruction maintains an intense focus on developing a solid understanding of number sense, place value, and strategies for efficient mental math. A consistent use of pictorial bar model drawings provides a unifying system that enables students to think symbolically and to solve real-world math problems. Our chief curriculum, Math in Focus: Singapore Math (MIF) provides us a framework for scope and sequence – in other words, what to teach and in what order. It also provides a wealth of materials and resources to work toward the ultimate goal of building the thinking capacity of students. As we come to the end of our second year and look forward to our third year of campus-wide implementation of this approach to teaching and learning math, we are continuing to grow and improve, including by offering teachers more professional development training in Singapore Math: • Last summer, we had eighteen teachers attend Greg Tang’s conference where they learned from national and international instruction/ training experts including Yeap Ban Har, one of the most highly regarded and best known math trainers in the world. This summer we will send eight more teachers. • In addition to off-campus opportunities, we have inserted thematic “Math Moments” into every one of our Friday afternoon faculty meetings where we have discussed the use of manipulatives and the math language used in the new report. As we wrap up this year, we will focus on model drawing across the grades. • Next year, we’ll continue our “Math Moments” with topics including: groupings and differentiation, lesson framework and planning, assessments, goal setting, and building fact fluency. • We are also in the process of developing a heightened approach to math coaching through a more structured schedule of observation and increased involvement in math groups across the entire campus.
In addition to professional development, we are also: • Continuing to examine our math standards (in coordination with state, national, and international standards) and align them with the MIF scope and sequence. • Improving our system of math grouping, designed to optimize differentiation opportunities for developmental and pacing differences among students. • Engaging in opportunities to integrate math concepts and skills development into other curricular subject matter in the context of other curricular areas and Immersive project-based learning (I-PBL) units. • Clarifying what our “meaningful homework” policy means in the context of math practice. We are excited about the future of math learning at TCS, and with good reason! We are moving further into a method of instruction that is more focused on students doing and thinking. We are continuing to grow as a community of math learners, thinkers, and teachers. We are seeing students beginning to think about numbers and math differently and more positively, and we can’t wait to see what the next few years bring. Let’s all keep looking forward to greater (pun intended) things to come!
Scout’s Report - April 2018
An Update on 2018-19 Eighth Grade Social Entrepreneurship Capstone
Q: What are the overarching goals for unit? A: We want students to realize that they have the ability, even now, to do something about the problems in their communities. Therefore, the overarching goal is for students to actually take action to help solve a social issue by embracing an entrepreneurial mindset and partnering with social entrepreneurs in their community. We don’t just want students to learn about social entrepreneurship. We don’t just want students to talk with social entrepreneurs. We want our students to become confident and passionate social entrepreneurs. Q: Is there a timeline the unit will follow? How will content flow from week to week? A: The capstone experience will run from August to May during the students’ eighth grade year. However, the idea is to begin introducing students to entrepreneurial concepts and social causes in earlier grades so they are prepared to take action during the eighth grade capstone experience. Week to week, students will engage in exploration of social issues relevant to their community, conversations with social entrepreneurs in their community, onsite visits and projects, and ultimately, creation and implementation of entrepreneurial solutions to help a particular cause.
Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with Kennesaw State University Shore Entrepreneurship Center to offer a first-of-itskind, social entrepreneurship capstone experience for our very first group of eighth-grade students! This opportunity will allow our eighth graders to immersive themselves in a college-level experience with access to college professors, staff, and students. Regan joined us again to dig a little deeper into how the program and give us more detail about how it will be structured over the course of the next school year!
Q: What local businesses or entrepreneurs will we partner with? A: The Middle Grades teaching team will meet with local social entrepreneurs, like Bruce Keenan, in May to explore partnerships and develop the assignments for next year. They will also attend the International Entrepreneurship Institute in June with other educators around the world where they will spend the week developing an implementation plan for this social entrepreneurship capstone experience. Stay tuned for more exciting updates and information about the social entrepreneurship capstone over the summer! We are very excited to kick off the program with our first-ever group of TCS eighth graders.