Innovative learning requires us as teachers to adopt innovative teaching practices. We need to get out of the box, message our brains, and come up with new tactics that engage and more importantly empower our students. Last week I spent 5 days at Rancho Minerva Middle School in San Diego along with 8 other teachers from my school and our principal. We met to create a bridge between our school on Maui and theirs. We spent time learning from teachers on the Rancho staff, visited classrooms, and met with students. Our time there was filled with learning and innovative thinking. I met teachers who not only love to teach but truly love their students. During our first session Dr. Ben Gaines stated that “Relationships are key. We need our students to want to come to school, to know that this is a place where they are loved and welcome no matter what.” Walking around the campus it was very apparent that Most have embraced this idea. As a group we decided that we would like to start a collaborative project. We began to brainstorm and what came out of that session is a project that not only approaches education from a different angle, but has the potential to change lives.
The Idea– The UN has set Eight Millennium Development Goals. The first of which is to Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger. We placed this as the basis of our collaborative project. We see this as an project that will cross all curriculum and is real to both of our schools. We are a 59% free and reduced lunch school and Rancho Minerva is at 98%. Although we are in the infant stages of this project the collaboration has already begun. Both schools are creating an introduction video, our students introducing themselves, their cultures, passions, dreams, and challenges to each other. A shared collaborative google classroom has been set up with folders for each subject. First mission is for each student to take a picture of one typical meal from their home. From here we see science classes looking at the science behind agriculture to include robotics, GMO, waste, etc. English language arts can create personal narratives, conduct interviews, create marketing campaigns and document the journey and evidence. Math can look into the statistics, averages, trends, and improvements. PE/Health could talk about eating healthy, lifestyle fitness. You get the idea, really any and all subject areas can and will be involved. Its difficult to say exactly where this project can go as the kids will take it directions we haven’t imagined. One thing I do know is the journey will be worth it.