Adventure Specialists' Advice

January 20, 2017

9 Ways to Inspire Student Inventors A collection of ideas to consider as you work to fuel your students’ curiosity. By Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

There’s an old saying that the things that change your life are the books you read, the places you go, and the people you meet. But I’d like to add a fourth: the challenges you face (and how you face them) will always change your life. If we want our students to respond to challenges with creativity and inventiveness, we must create the conditions in which innovation is not only possible but encouraged. You don’t help students learn to invent by giving worksheets or cookie-cutter assignments. In fact, these one-size-fits-all approaches may actually take up the time that could be used for such creativity.

According to the Torrance Test—which measures CQ, or creativity quotient—theUnited States has been declining in creativity since 1990. There has to be a reason.

Perhaps it is because we focus on students’ weaknesses instead of their strengths. In many schools, we’ll put a math genius who struggles with grammar into extra English classes. Should we not give this math genius access to college-level advanced math work, and figure out the basic English requirements he or she needs for a basic understanding of grammar? Why do we think that all students should be good at everything?

We can either be average at everything or exceptional at something. With this in mind, here are some things we need to do to encourage student inventors as we nurture student passions, interests, and strengths.

1. Supplies

2. Motivation and Time

3. Ideas

4. Mentors

5. Opportunities to Show and Discuss Work

6. Redefinition of Invention

7. An Understanding of How to Fail Successfully

8. A Proper Handling of Fear

9. Hunger

Full Article

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Important Dates

Jan. 24: PD Meeting (Curriculum Work)

Jan. 28-31: Chinese New Year (No School)

Feb. 7: Combined Staff and Staff Photo

Feb. 14-18: ACSC Basketball Tournament and Spirit Week

Feb. 15: Progress Reports

Feb. 21-23: MEW

Feb. 28: Divisional Meeting; DJHS Decisions

March 6: No School


If you’re a parent, you might remember the “why” stage that hits kids sometime between ages 2-3. All of a sudden, no matter what you say, your child will ask, “Why?” I’m thankful the constant repetition of “why” is just a short childhood stage because it gets really annoying; however, there is a part of all of us that does need to ask “why” sometimes. It’s important to remember the “why” behind doing the things we do because it will inspire us to keep on doing them!

Why do we do active learning at Dalat? That’s a good question. It dates back to when Karl was the high school principal, and he saw the research coming out that said that the old-school “sage on the stage” approach to teaching doesn’t yield the best results. Students can only hold in a small portion of what is being said in a 45 minute lecture. However, if the teacher pauses and gives the students a chance to engage with the information and processes it, they will then be ready to hear more new information. Adding in a cooperative method of getting students to engage together around the material has been proven to yield much better results. Simply put, we do active learning at Dalat because it’s a best practice in teaching.

I’ve been observing my students this week. The excitement is dying down and reality is setting in. As a teacher who moves around a lot of the day, it’s easy to forget that sitting and listening for hours on end is tiring and mind-numbing. Teachers doing active learning is so crucial for helping our students actually enjoy school. As we begin this semester, I encourage you to remain committed to making your classroom as engaging and active as possible!

Susan Allen

HS Teacher, Instructional Coach

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