The Spark of an Idea
It all started when two colleagues began texting ideas back and forth sharing what was going on in their classroom. Second-grade teacher Mrs. Jena Enriquez recalls the spark of an idea, “One day, Evan Story sent me a video that he was going to share with his third-grade class. It was of him posing a math problem using things he is passionate about: surfing and the beach. He filmed himself on the beach and gave his students an equation that pertained to multi-step calculations. I thought, wow, what a great way to get kids thinking about math and sharing your passions with your students.”
Mrs. Enriquez shared the idea with Lower School principal Hannah Park. “I mentioned that I was going to take my kids outside of the classroom, via video, on an adventure with me where I would film a math problem and then add a research inquiry question that kids could use to write an expository piece. And in my sharing with her, she mentioned an idea that fired me up, too! Hannah encouraged me to have the kids to do the same thing – go out and film their daily experiences and pose a math question to their peers, then let them share with the class.”
Dedicated to Innovation and Growth (DIG)
This new way of presenting math word problems got the class excited about math and changed things up from the usual math instruction. It was motivating and engaging for everyone. This experience highlights how sharing ideas promotes creativity and inspiration. “Mrs. Park encouraged us to share more ideas with our colleagues and start building a culture of staff inquiry and open doors-welcoming each other in our classrooms so we could learn from each other and get inspired to Dedicate ourselves to Innovation and Growth (DIG – Dedicated to Innovation and Growth),” Mrs. Enriquez excitedly recollects. “We weren’t really sure how to go about organizing this idea so we sought the help of technology extraordinaire, Cynthia Nixon, our Ed Tech (Education Technology) coach and innovation mentor. She helped us figure out an approach using social media to communicate what we were up to. It just seemed to make sense to merge all of my colleagues’ innovative posts to one account using a platform that many were already actively used – Instagram. Posting on @EaglesDIG started a culture of sharing amongst the staff and gives parents insight into class happenings.”
Building a Community
The culture of sharing things that are going on in the classroom is inspiring and is building a closer community, not only with staff but with parents and students alike. “Other teachers swinging by my classroom on their break and engaging the kids gets my creative juices flowing. It also gives me a chance to get constructive feedback from a different perspective,” says an inspired Mrs. Enriquez. “We are creating a culture of a growth mindset, not only among students but among teachers as well. Good teachers must remain students; keeping a teachable heart and be willing to try new approaches for the engagement of our students. Working together we edify each other and we inspire each other.”
You too can get inspired; check out @EaglesDIG on Instagram.