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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 6, 2012

Project-based learning, inquiry, and educational “experiences” have all been at the forefront of our discussions around intentional instructional design.  The results of the 2012 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index survey are interesting and reinforce the importance of staying the course and continuing to push the expectation for what classroom instruction and experiences need to look like. Students want and need opportunities to invent, innovate, think, and create.
“Hands-on invention activities are critical, but few too many students have opportunities to learn and develop their inventive skills,” said Leigh Estabrooks, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s invention education officer. “This year’s survey revealed that less than half of respondents have done things like used a drill or hand-held power tool, or made something out of raw materials in the past year. We must engage students in these types of invention experiences as well as provide a strong STEM education to drive future innovators.”

8 Things Your Students Are Afraid to Tell You
As you can see from the title, my selection this week centers around eight topics/themes that our students may not feel comfortable in talking openly about in terms of their education with their teachers.  As I read these statements, I couldn’t help but relate them to the work we’ve done around the 7 Characteristics of Highly Effective Teachers.  
Many of these statements, I’m sure, will provide some fodder for great conversations in your buildings.

Clusters for Success
As you know from the recent Curriculum Connection, Hilliard Schools has assembled a Gifted Task Force to study different service delivery options.  One of the options is to cluster into one classroom four to nine students that are identified to be gifted.  The article sheds light on the benefits of this model and explains the process for clustering an entire cohort of students.  The clustering model lends itself to RTI as it diminishes wide learning ranges for the classroom teacher.  It allows the educator to intervene and enrich more easily.    
The article could be fodder for thinking about different yet more effective ways to group students.  

Group Think...The Brainstorming Myth
What conditions produce the greatest chance of achieving true collaboration?  Since the late 1940s when the idea of "brainstorming" emerged, many leaders believed that this strategy could generate the best ideas and solve the most pressing problems.  In brainstorming, all ideas are equally important, and criticism, as well as negative feedback are supposed to be absent.
This article takes the opposite view by devaluing the effects of brainstorming.  "Debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas, but rather stimulate them", author Jonah Lehrer writes.  "Physical proximity is the key variable to productivity."  Steve Jobs had that in mind when he designed the office space for Pixar .  He felt that great ideas emerge when people run into each other.

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