At Ravenscroft, We Believe in 21st century teaching and learning.

We are committed to providing experiences for our children that will support the development of the skills required to thrive in a global and technology-driven economy and society.

It is hard to truly capture all the ways our Lower School faculty is enhancing the learning experience for our 21st century Ravens- they are pretty amazing and are constantly trying new things.

One area from each grade level is highlighted below to give our readers a peek into how our Lower School is preparing individuals to thrive in our complex and interdependent world:

Pre-Kindergarten: Lead From Here is an integral part of everything we do in Lower School. We know the leadership and citizenship competencies within this framework are the keys to healthy and successful lives. Our PK students just completed their second Lead From Here launch lesson which focused on what means it means to be accountable. In this lesson, the students worked together to complete a large floor puzzle as a cooperative team. They had the opportunity to discover how each person is valuable to the success of a group and they had meaningful fun as they collaborated to solve a problem.

Kindergarten: Our learners are more digital than ever before and technology has the power to engage and connect them in new ways.  Our Kindergarten students and teachers have started using iPads and iPods to capture, record, and share their learning using the Seesaw digital journal app.  Students take pictures of their work, record themselves reading, and create videos that they upload to their Seesaw portfolio that can be shared with their parents and friends. They are learning early how to effectively use technology as a communication tool and to document their learning.

First Grade: One size does not fit all-especially when it comes to reading, writing, and doing math.  Students in any given classroom bring different strengths, areas for growth, and learning styles and preferences.  It is essential that we use information from formative assessments to design learning experiences that are differentiated and best meet the individual needs of the learners in each of our classrooms.  Our first grade teachers begin each unit of study in all subject areas by giving students formative assessments to determine what students already know and what they can already do. Then they use the information from these assessments to determine what instruction each student needs next to move forward. Students work in small groups, partnerships, and as individuals to work towards their specific goals.    

Second Grade: Integrating information from different content areas is a powerful way to make connections and add meaning and purpose for our students. Second graders have been learning how to write like scientists. The students have been performing experiments about force and motion and sharing their findings by writing lab reports.  They are also reading mentor texts to learn about effective strategies for this type of procedural writing. Students are writing and developing questions and hypotheses, designing experiments based on prior knowledge, conducting multiple trials of experiments to test hypotheses, and practicing with the scientific concepts of forces and motion (push, pull, friction, and gravity), all within their writing workshop unit of study- science, reading, and writing all integrated together!

Third Grade: Passion and purpose are key factors in maximizing student engagement.  When students are inspired and believe the learning experience is authentic and can actually make a difference in their lives, they will commit their time and attention to the work.  Our third graders and their teachers, have been concerned about student behavior and safety in the dining hall. They thought the configuration of the tables could be contributing to the noise level and safety concerns. They turned this situation into a real life math problem and design challenge within their math workshop. The students were charged with calculating the maximum number of chairs needed at any given time in the dining hall and designing a layout that would require the least amount of tables. They are also working on writing a persuasive letter proposing the layout change to the leadership team.  I have a feeling that there may be some changes in the dining hall in the coming weeks.

Fourth Grade: Innovation is going to continue to be a key factor in the growth and prosperity of our world, and engineering skills are essential to most innovations. Our fourth grade team has added a new engineering unit of study this year where students are engaging in design thinking challenges to solve real world problems. They have designed alternate ways to power cars of the future in order to reduce the effects of air pollution, explored and designed shapes to create strong structures, and even investigated how engineers help people stay safe while playing sports and how engineers help athletes perform to their highest potential.

Fifth Grade: Being self-aware, reflective, and strategic are key competencies within our Citizen Leader framework. We believe it is important to take time to reflect on our strengths and areas for growth and be self-aware enough to know what conditions support or deter us from being our best selves. The creation of a Learning Lab period in our fifth grade schedule has provided time for this reflection and also provides a structure for students to set specific goals and plans for reaching those goals, that are individualized based on student needs. This time period and these competencies help support students’ success within the fifth grade program, and also provide them with lifelong skills that will help them be strategic well beyond fifth grade.

 

These brief descriptions give only a glimpse into some of the 21st century learning happening in our Lower School.  We would need a whole book to share all the amazing things happening in our Tree Talks, guidance lessons, special area classes, Buddy Connections, after school enrichment opportunities, special events…and so much more!

It is truly an exciting time to be a learner in Lower School!  

Image from: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/05/awesome-graphic-featuring-12-learning.html

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