At the beginning of the year, students started a new block schedule
, which provides opportunities for deeper learning through longer class periods. Anticipating opportunities to introduce emerging and innovative learning approaches under the block schedule, we launched an innovation grant program over the summer to support faculty development and collaboration.
The TI-Nspire/TI-Navigator technology
was introduced for quick polls on digital math problems sent to students via their calculator. This approach allows for real-time informal or formal assessments to gauge student progress.
Math Department Chair Joanne Ryan and teacher Juan de la Cruz researched and developed methodologies to utilize Camtasia lesson videos in a flipped classroom
approach. Students' homework was to watch the videos and take video notes. During class time, students worked in pairs on problem sets (what used to be the traditional homework problems) while teachers help guide students to learning outcomes. Most students seem to enjoy this format, since their time at home is spent learning material, rather than applying what was taught to them in class. As a result, the homework load is lighter; the class time is more student-centered, collaborative and active; and teachers gain a better understanding of their students' strengths and weaknesses.
English teacher Elizabeth Phillips developed a new Writing Fellows program
and selected Upper School students to serve as fellows for the 2015 – 2016 school year. This new service learning and training opportunity, modeled on programs from Brown University and Barnard College, pair Upper School writing tutors, called fellows, with students in the seventh and ninth grades to help build younger students' writing skills. Writing fellows also will staff an expanded Buckley Writing Lab, which will be open to members of the entire Buckley community during lunch and after-school hours and for Middle School students during their Sunrise and FLEX periods. Writing Fellows Program will have a tremendous impact on the Buckley experience by integrating service and academics; creating meaningful connections between the youngest and most senior members of our student community; and building an academic culture that supports artistic expression through the written word.
Science teacher Aidyl Gonzalez created an opportunity for students to perform original, independent research in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). These projects, which can extend up to three years, help students develop the rich research literacy and lab skills.
New study and life skills options, such as a silent reading time for seventh and eighth grade students to help promote good reading habits, and mindfulness practice, were introduced in Middle School.
In Lower School, a new garden added a whole new dimension to the k-2 science program and gave our youngest students a variety of hands-on learning opportunities in science.
A consultant from Singapore Math conducted training with Lower School faculty, continuing a focus on number sense, sprints, and place value.
Eight teachers attended the weeklong Responsive Classroom training. The Responsive Classroom approach often includes physically rearranging learning spaces to fit where children are developmentally and also to be conducive to safe, challenging, and joyful learning. Some other Responsive Classroom practices, such as morning meetings to start the day or increased communication with parents, directly foster a sense of community.
Mindfulness activities were introduced into the curriculum to help students learn how to achieve a sense of peace and balance during the school day and beyond.