Learning Without Limits
Solving complex problems
At a very young age, students learn the basic facts of the math world for instance, 2+2=4; 8-3=5 and so on.
It may seem pretty simple now when you look at it.
Consider, though, how often you may have struggled with those same numbers within the confines of a daily or monthly budget, or an application for a car loan. Somehow, the numbers don’t seem to add up the same way.
The difference is in the fact that these problems are complex and open-ended, math facts are simple and closed. The goal of teaching is equipping students to be able to identify and solve problems in their academic work and in life. This includes solving problems that are set for them (the kind of problem solving we usually think of in school) and solving new problems that they define themselves; creating something new as the solution. In this case, "being able to think" means students can solve their own complex problems and work creatively to do so.
Connecting with others
Every day we are reminded just how small the world really is. An event in an obscure country on the other side of the world, good or bad, can have a profound impact on our daily lives. Prices on products may rise or fall; health scares become rampant, violence erupts, a movement begins.
We are a global society.
The more our children know about and get to know their peers around the world, the richer their lives will be. Opportunities are expanding for students to connect with each other and with students around the world as they immerse themselves into topics and lessons of deep interest. Skype, ePals and blogs from friends around the world give students the opportunity to compare experiences from one country to the next. For the past few years, our Rocket Science students consulted with their NASA mentors via teleconference several times a year on designs, test results, and specifications for future testing.
Engaging in rigorous learning
Rigor carries various meanings for various people. What is rigorous for one student can be downright impossible for another; or only somewhat challenging for yet another.
This is where the individual teacher–student relationship is most important.
Working with your child, the teacher knows your child’s capabilities and how best to challenge without pressing. Students who are engaged in rigorous learning are excited about school;
they are interested in what they are doing and feel like they belong in
school. They get to show their learning in a variety of ways and their
hard work is recognized and celebrated, which makes them feel good about
school, what they've learned and about themselves.
Owning the learning
We have never shied away from anything that we felt was needed to help our students succeed as they go on after high school. We have encouraged students to follow their interests and inspirations wherever they lead; whether it’s building rockets, arguing a mock trial, or writing a novel. You have probably read of many of our students doing some of those very things.
Not every student wants to take on a project quite that large, yet they all want to learn in their ‘best’ way, to be engaged, connected, and deeply involved in the process. Teachers have been rewriting lesson plans recently to take advantage of new ideas.
For some it may come in the form of web-based learning, especially for students in the higher grades. With that, teachers and students can work together to develop questions and find the answers, instead of teachers holding all the information and lecturing.
Students in early elementary grades already experience no limits to learning.
To a very young child, learning is a process that seemingly never ends - consider the toddler and the unceasing question ‘why?’... there is always something more.
We look forward to watching them all learn in their own ’best’ way - without limits!
And we promise to share those stories with you.