Thoughts on design thinking: Kayla Collins, SPS Lower School Teacher
I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to go to the Nueva Design Thinking Institute. I have spent the last three years creating and implementing Project Based curriculum and was excited to see how Design Thinking fit into this style of learning.
Within Project Based learning my students always had a driving question as the focus of everything they did. It was a problem that the students would solve using their subject base knowledge as the foundation. For example, one driving question I had for my students was: Design a robot to take back in time for Benjamin Franklin. What problem will it solve?
Within this driving question, I was able to integrate all the subjects in a purposeful way where the students saw the relevance of what they were learning. Everything pointed back to that driving question. The students did research papers on Benjamin Franklin. We studied problems within the colonies day-to-day life. We read books about this time period, and compared and contrasted what we read to the present day. We learned computer programming and robotics, and used what we were learning to solve math problems. By the time we had completed several weeks of building our knowledge in these areas, the students were able to find a problem to solve, build and program a robot that could solve that problem, and then present their robot to the community.
This summer I was very intrigued to see how Design Thinking fit into this process. After my week at the Design Thinking Institute, I discovered that my students were already jumping into Design Thinking without the name, except for one important piece: It should be about the user and not the product. Empathy is the foundation of Design Thinking. The focus is on the user and their needs. Often with Design Thinking, the product is a gift. Students are creating for the better good of someone else, not just to create a product to present. I am excited to pull this important piece into my lessons, and see my students grow in empathy and being problem solvers within their community.
Our world is forever changing around us with the rapid advances in technology, which means that the workplace that our students face someday will look different than it does even right now. To prepare our students, we must give them critical thinking skills and confidence to be problem solvers and designers in any situation.
Kids Inc. will provide after school care this coming school year
Second Graders love meeting with their 5th grade reading buddy every Friday, as this partnership develops leadership, teamwork, respect, and trust. Just as important it is for Second Graders to have peers to look up to, it’s also important for them to partner with younger students, so that they can be in the leadership role. To encourage this, we have been reading with Junior Kindergarteners the past two weeks, and what a joy it has been to watch the class welcome the little ones into our reading zone! Last week, students practiced reading their story with intonation to their PK buddy. Today, students explained what “Literary Language” is, and sitting together with their PK buddy, listened to Owl Moon and discussed special language used within the story.
In math, we are wrapping up our Unit on Mental Addition. Students have been busy adding tens/ones mentally, on a hundreds chart, and solving number patterns. They’ve gone deeper by creating posters to display multiple ways of solving equations such as 43+56. This last week before break we will be exploring coding with various activities.
It’s already December and a new year is just around the corner. In art class we have been working hard and learning all about the elements of art and the life and style of some well-known artists. In November, our 2nd graders learned about two revolutionary artists, Henri Rousseau and Pablo Picasso. After studying Rousseau, students spent a good amount of time creating their own wild collage jungles, learning how to draw animals, creating foliage and playing with color to create their art. Moving onto Picasso, one of Rousseau’s first fans, the 2nd graders pared his wild colorful style with our study of the art element, form. Inspired by Picasso, students created their own 3D portrait sculptures using wood pieces and paint. Looking forward, we will start the new year off with a unit on portraits, move onto a project connected with their in-class unit on Egypt, and begin working on the collaborative piece for our annual school celebration/auction. If you are interested in helping with this particular project I would be most grateful! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second grade art meets from 1-1:45 on Monday and Wednesdays.