Provoking the Imagination

It was wonderful to welcome the students and staff back to school this week. Through ten days remote learning it was incredibly impressive to see how seamless the overall transition into remote learning had been for everyone. As a school, we certainly have the tools, resources and mindset to adapt to this ever changing time we currently live in. With that though, in speaking to students and staff throughout the school this week there was an overwhelmingly positive energy about being back with friends and face-to-face learning. 

As amazing as our online learning experiences are, our teachers continue to develop and activate amazing on-site lessons. This week I saw two numeracy lessons that were particularly impressive and clearly demonstrate the learning we value at Dubai American Academy.

Any good inquiry starts with a provocation, and this one had a lot of people talking. My office is across from the drone aviary and on Monday we noticed “a mess”, but we also noticed it was not a total mess. There was something organized about it. This struck a few of us as interesting and sparked conversations about where it had come and why it was there. Exactly what a good provocation does.

We later discovered that it was designed for a grade 3 math lesson where students needed to measure and set the perimeter and area for a “quarantined safe space”. Learning about measurement can be done in so many ways, but our teachers designed a lesson to grab the students’ attention with the wonders of a mystery, then applied relevance and meaning to the math concept under study. What an amazing way to activate student learning. 

This morning I found myself in the AI Lab (Centre of Excellence) with a class of excited KG2 students who were exploring maps and measurement. What began with a mapping expedition to the AI space, turned into an integrated measurement lesson of “less than and more than” with our robot Pepper leading the way with unifix cubes. Students then utilized their measurement knowledge and jumped into a coding activity with Ozobots and Cubettos. 

Through the lesson the students were able to apply their mini-lesson learning into working out how to move their robots across the page or mat. The students’ efforts, knowledge and enthusiasm were pretty incredible but it was how one student demonstrated divergent thinking that very much impressed me. Rather than follow the conventional rules for the Ozobot to follow, he wrote his own rules by creating his own path.

We all want our children to have the confidence, skills, aptitudes and mindsets to mark their own path forward and these are just two examples of how we are shaping the next generation of future fluent creators, thinkers and leaders.

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