Remember our elementary school days? Desks in rows, “trade and grade,” worksheets, purple smelly ink from the Mimeograph machine, Scantron sheets, reading textbooks. Did you ever read an entire novel, or just the selected chapter in the basal reader (reading textbook)? So what’s changed? In many public schools, the most significant change is the color (and odor) of ink on with which the worksheets are printed.
In our school, we long ago responded to research about collaboration and innovation. It can’t happen in a vacuum. Have you noticed the collaboration tables and work centers in many of our classrooms? Have you been to a Morning Meeting where children actively engage with one another: greeting, sharing and participating in an activity that officially begins their day of learning? Have you visited the extensive leveled library in your child’s classroom where children shop for books regularly? We have come a long way since the time of basal readers and ditto sheets.
Every decision we make pertaining to curriculum, instruction, assessment, school culture, rules, middot (norms), even how we arrange the furniture in our school is done with the 4 Cs in mind: collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. A new book by Joshua Wolf Shenk, Powers of Two, explores the importance of the 4 Cs in the real world. In Powers of Two, Shenk argues that working in pairs promotes innovation. While Shenk isn’t necessarily advocating for educational reform, his book certainly gives us fodder for thought.
On Wednesday, August 13th, Shenk is speaking about the science and history of innovation and why he believes collaboration is the secret to creativity. This is a Zocalo Public Square event taking place at The Actor’s Gang in Culver City at 7:30 p.m. The discussion will be moderated by Jonathan Ames, Creator of the TV Show Bored to Death.MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EVENT
Let me know if you plan to attend. We can set-up carpools from Beth Hillel.