Marshall Elementary School used an Innovation Award in 2015-16 to increase student engagement. Below is a description of the challenge, process, and solution they designed.
In a school-based survey conducted in 2014-2015, only 40% of families have consistent Internet access at home, and only 30% have desktop/laptop computer available for the children at home. Marshall family are connected technologically with iPads and Smartphones, but are usually used for entertainment purposes, not educational. Based on the family data, a vast majority face contextual factors that are a barrier for them to have access to the new economy and opportunities to build social/educational capital to assist them through their educational path to college and career readiness and life opportunities.
Through the design process Marshall’s team synthesized information and input from school community into three themes:
- Personalized: How might we increase student choice and autonomy of learners?
- Environment: How might we design space and time to facilitate more dynamic student learning?
- Mindset, classroom management, and professional learning: How might we support and encourage teachers to reflect and plan for their students to exercise their full intelligence?
Marshall has prototyped in grades 4 and 5 project based electives. Students have the choice to 2 projects in 5th grades: 1. Creating a restaurant. 2. Theatre Arts-develop and perform original play.
4th Grade has 3 projects for students;
- Coding Class
- School newspaper
- History of dance
Additionally, one 5th grade class begun to re-imagine their classroom to reflect the 21st Century Learning.
The projects on in their 4th week of implementation.Students and teachers are highly motivated during elective blocks, with students fully engaged in the process.
The 5th grade class is in the process of purchasing new furniture and classroom materials that will be ready for fall 2016.