Innovation: Needed Now More than Ever

IMMOOC Season 3, Episode 1

Start with Why

Simon Sinek (@simonsinek), challenges everyone to start with their “why”, in his widely popular Ted Talk. We think this was a great question to start off with in our new season of IMMOOC: putting words to the “why” for innovation because when your WHY is big enough, the HOW will show up. To quote the master directly,

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Fidget Spinners: Putting a Positive Spin on The Latest Fad

If you have been within 100 yards of an elementary or middle school in the last week… in the United States, the United Kingdom, or pretty much any other developed country, you’ve surely seen a Fidget Spinner, the small gadget on ball bearings that spin crazy fast. They have invaded the field at t-ball practice, the mall, and… my latest sighting: The hostess who recently seated our family while eating out this past weekend. These “educational toys” are the latest fad to hit schools and to break our students’ piggy banks. If, however, you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what a Fidget Spinner is:

Every year it’s something new; from “dabbing” to rainbow loom weaving, slamming POGs to Silly Bandz, Pokémon cards to… whatever comes next! It’s been this way for as long as we can remember, and most likely will stay that way as long as children attend schools. Usually, these fads are a nightmare for teachers and they get banned within a week. We’ve seen on social media that a lot of teachers are currently being driven crazy by the newest craze, but we’re here to put a positive spin on them.

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Amplifying Student Voice

Before you read any further, watch this video. http://tinyurl.com/k4yorxj Seriously.

Now imagine you were a 4th grade student who just watched that video. You are one in a class of 28. The teacher asks the class for their thoughts: “What can we learn from that video?” Your neighbor raises her hand but doesn’t get called on. You sink lower in your chair, slipping under the radar as usual. The boy in the front row gets called on (as always). Someone blurts out without being called on. How rude, you think! The teacher reminds the class to raise their hands to speak and calls on two more people. With two minutes left until recess, the teacher shares their own opinion of the video, validating some students’ ideas, and adding the other take-aways that didn’t come up. How many people were able to share their thinking? Sadly, too often, the vast majority of students are not directly engaged with the learning because their voices are not asked for or heard.

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Think Outside the Bubble: Performance Assessments in Elementary Science

#IMMOOC Week 2

This is our second blog in the #IMMOOC Series, the second series of a book study group on George Couros’ Innovator’s Mindset. Thank you for reading and participating in this online community of like-minded innovators!

The New Prompt: In Chapter 1, innovation is defined as a way of thinking that creates something new and better. What are some examples that you consider innovative?  How is it new and better than what previously existed?

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#IMMOOC Week #1 -Building Our Dream School

IMMOOC Week 1

For the next few weeks, we will be participating in the Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course (IMMOOC) and our blog posts will be in response to topics of discussion within the group. We look forward to blogging with everyone and reading everyone elses posts! Follow our blog and leave comments with your thoughts and follow-up questions.

Week 1 Prompt: If you could start a school from scratch, what are your “musts” and what would you not have?

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Computer Science for All – Introducing Elementary Students to Coding

Last week, we celebrated “National Computer Science Week” by spending part of each day exposing our students to the field of computer science and coding. Outsiders may think we are crazy to be teaching 4th graders about these complex topics but we believe the earlier the better! (It’s also less complex than you think!)

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