Tag Archives: experiential learning

Inly Alum Receives Fulbright Scholarship to Spain

HannahKHWe recently caught up with Inly alumnus, Hannah Kaplan-Hartlaub ‘07, who is graduating from Smith College this May. Kaplan-Hartlaub, a Sociology and Spanish double major, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Spain, where she will spend next year teaching English at a high school in Madrid. While not teaching, she will also help coach the high school’s Model United Nations team and conduct an independent community service project through the network of community gardens in Madrid. “ I’ll be working with the Urban Garden Network of Madrid to do an independent community service project,” Kaplan-Hartlaub said, “which marries my interests in experiential learning, community-building, and playing in the dirt—all things I can I trace back to my time at Inly School.”

Hannah’s love of the Spanish language prompted her to study abroad last year at the University of Cordoba and also inspired her to pursue the Fulbright program in Spain after graduation. Fulbright grantees are selected through an open and merit-based competition. This ensures that the most qualified applicants are fairly chosen in a way that contributes to the main goals of the program: to provide overseas experience to individuals not previously afforded such an opportunity and to promote mutual understanding and benefit through contributions to both host and home communities.

From its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs. The English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programs place Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETA’s help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. The age and academic level of the students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level.

When asked about her goals for the program, Kaplan-Hartlaub said,

“Primarily, I aim to teach English for student use with cross-cultural engagement and perspective—in other words, to afford my students the opportunity to explore the world with the facility that English makes possible. I’m also eager to explore the country further and contribute through community service. I hope my volunteering in urban gardens will foster tighter neighborhood community and local connection to the earth, and to begin a dialogue around urban agricultural practices and food culture. This would further my goal of having a true exchange of knowledge and culture with the Madrileña community.”

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program is sponsored and managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Fulbright ETAs are placed in classrooms abroad to assist in strengthening English language instruction, while providing insights on American culture. At the same time, U.S. participants experience intensive cross-cultural interaction in an international educational setting.

Kaplan-Hartlaub reflected that her Inly roots in education “drew out the spirit of exploration” within her:

“While my years at Commonwealth School and then Smith contributed greatly [to this spirit] as well,” she observed, “I always consider Inly to have planted the seed of curiosity. From a young age we worked with teachers and with each other to cultivate our passions, and though the sowing was challenging, the harvest was fruitful and will fortify me during the coming adventures….I hope the Fellowship will allow me to connect further with students and teachers in a new academic setting, and would provide a cross-cultural comparison to inform my interpretations of educational policies in the States upon my return.”

CEF: Why K12 Schools Need To Embrace Creative Problem-Solving

The Creative Education Foundation on John Hunter, brainstorming techniques, and hope for future generations of creative thinkers and innovators.

The Creative Education Foundation (CEF), co-sponsors of Inly’s Omran ♦ Nelson Speaker Series event with John Hunter on April 9th, have trained thousands of people in creative problem-solving and brainstorming over the years. In fact, the founder of the foundation “invented” both brainstorming and creative problem-solving, techniques that have become the foundation of creative processes around the world. CEF clients include Visa, Stanley Black & Decker, HP, Microsoft, Hershey, Boeing, Staples and Ocean Spray. The group has a wide reach, having conducted Visioning Workshops at Disney World’s Epcot Center and CEF YouthWise programs in South Africa. Current projects include a brain science research study with Dartmouth College and consulting in Dubai to help educators use creativity in their work.

The Inly connection? Donna Milani Luther, Inly’s Head of School, has served as a designated leader and consultant for the CEF since 1984. She and John Hunter both presented talks at the CEF’s annual Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) Conference in 2012 (sparking the idea to bring Hunter to speak at Inly). In 2013, the CEF moved its headquarters to the Inly School campus.

We recently had a chance to chat with both Stephen Brand and Kitty Heusner of the CEF about their work with school administrators and educators and their philosophy on the importance of creativity in K–12 education.

Stephen Brand, Director of Programming, CEF

You help adults in organizations tackle complex business problems. How does this work apply to K–12 education?
Over the years we’ve trained thousands of people in creative problem-solving and brainstorming, helping them uncover ideas and solutions to daily or long-term challenges. Whether you’re in a business or a nonprofit organization or running a K–12 school, many of the principles are the same.

For instance, we now offer a course called “Creativity in the 21st Century Classroom.”
We bring together teachers and principals, professional development staff and curriculum directors and we show them how to apply these proven methods in the classroom. We show them how to actively use creativity, brain-based learning research (i.e. multiple intelligence theory), and learning styles to accelerate learning and help them prepare for the Common Core State Standards with foundational skills that integrate creativity, collaboration, and action on ideas generated.

How does this tie into your overall mission?
Our mission is about “engaging and developing the next generation of creative thinkers and innovators.” Part of the CEF vision is enable educators to initiate change in their schools, revitalize communities and enhance methods and systems with new, yielding results that reflect the very problems identified to resolve. We’re most interested in helping administrators realize the power of using creativity in schools in developing a culture of innovation, creative approaches to student engagement and building the creative thinking skills of their students Independent, magnet and charter schools are initially investing much more in creativity in their schools. What we offer is fits more easily in independent, charter and magnet schools as they seek to differentiate their learning experiences from the typical public school. International schools seem to be quite intrigued with infusing creative thinking in their schools as well.

With the public schools, it’s going to take early adopters to jump on this. It really takes a forward-thinking superintendent or principal in a public school to embrace creativity as a core component in their efforts. Our hope is to get more and more schools, public, private, urban, suburban, to embrace this creative approach to education and find better ways of motivating students and allowing the ideas of students to drive their learning.

Does your research focus on adults or students?
Both. We’re currently working with Dartmouth College on a study to see whether learning creative thinking and creative problem-solving skills would change the actual brain structure of middle school students. This involves taking functional MRIs and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data. In our academic journal, the Journal of Creative Behavior and at our annual conference we address creativity in education as well as creativity in business, organizations and even governments. Right now we see the K–12 education space as critical. Our world is becoming increasingly complex and we want to help schools and administrators focus on preparing future leaders to brainstorm creative solutions to complex problems in whatever fields they explore.

Katherine O. (Kitty) Heusner, Ph.D., Chair of the Board of Trustees, CEF

What do students need to succeed in this century? In the future?
They need critical thinking and problem-solving skills to navigate the changing world around them. One of our hopes is that CEF can reach out to schools that are often underserved to develop programs that promote creativity as a necessary skill for success. One of the ironies in education is that the ones who need help with creative problem-solving the most often receive the least.

Is this type of teaching and learning possible in traditional schools?
Yes, I think it is. When I hear people say, ‘We can’t do anything with creative thinking because we have to focus on the curriculum content,’ I think, ‘Wait a minute. It’s not about stopping to teach creativity as a new subject, it’s about infusing strategies into your teaching that foster creative thinking and present the content in creative ways.’

The reality is that most people have not experienced this type of learning themselves, and so it’s difficult to really see the possibilities. That’s why it’s important to work with the total school community—to work with administrators to help them model and support the change, to work with teachers to develop the skill set and mind set, and to involve parents to understand the importance.

What do you think is most important take-away from Hunter’s film and talks?
That one person in one classroom can truly make a significant difference in children, one at a time. John Hunter is an inspiring example of a teacher who did not in any way abandon what his students needed to learn—but rather saw a way to do it that would create enthusiasm and interest and, more importantly, develop critical in-depth learning and skill development that goes far beyond the content area that he may have originally been planning to teach. By allowing students to imagine themselves and play the roles Prime Ministers, Secretaries of State and even Arms Dealers, they became more engaged and motivated to understand the content as they lived the content.

How would you describe John Hunter’s approach to creative problem-solving?
What John has come up with is adaptable and adoptable for this changing population. It facilitates effective creative-thinking techniques—the key principle being that you do the divergent “open gathering” ideas separate from the “choosing among” ideas. We observe his students engaged in this type of learning in the film (World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements). They were encouraged not to jump early to conclusions but to jump thoughtfully to conclusions after they had gathered a variety of ideas and listened to each other in wonderful ways. It is creative thinking and problem-solving in action at its finest!

Further Reading:

John Hunter and His Montessori Message: An interview with Inly’s head of school

John Hunter Presents “World Peace Game” Film and Talk on Experiential Education

Culture of Creativity at Inly School

 

John Hunter and His Montessori Message

A chat with Inly’s head of school about student-centered learning, global awareness and the power of experiential education

John Hunter at Inly School in Scituate MA

John Hunter presents his film “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements” at Inly School on April 9th

When Donna Milani Luther heard John Hunter speak at the Creative Education Foundation’s annual Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) Conference last summer, she was blown away. “His approach aligned so perfectly with ours, and his message was so compelling, that I immediately knew I wanted to bring him to Inly to meet with our school community. And I wanted other teachers and administrators and parents to share in the experience, too.”

John Hunter will speak at Inly on Wednesday, April 9 as part of the Omran ♦ Nelson Speaker Series. For a full description of the event, see the Inly News story:  John Hunter to Present “World Peace Game” Film and Talk on Hands-On, Experiential Learning.

To purchase online tickets visit the Inly Speaker Series page.

Q: Hunter’s talk is called, “The Schools and Teachers our Students Need Us To
Be.” What does this mean, exactly?

It’s about allowing students to guide their own learning, based on their interests. It’s about teachers and schools allowing students to really take ownership. John’s message is that we all need to focus on how students learn best and then thoughtfully prepare the best type of environment for this success. He asks us to ask ourselves: What are our roles as guides for children in this century?

Q: Hands-on, experiential learning is the focal point of his film, “World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements.” Is this a focal point of his talk as well?

World_Peace_Foundation_Inly_SchoolYes. He firmly believes that experiential education is the most effective way for students to learn, and that’s really the premise of this talk. It’s the best proven way to capture students’ attention and extend their learning and their capacity to stay on a task. As educators we want to see students building skills around interest and content, and we want the learning to be rigorous and challenging and fun.

Q: And can it be rigorous enough, this type of experiential learning?

Oh, absolutely. It’s about teaching from the inside out.

I think that people generally will challenge themselves if they feel like they’re learning and growing. Otherwise they just look to the least common denominator. We see that alive in our school every day and you see that in great schools and in great teachers.

Kids will often keep going if inspired. But when they’re led in a direction that’s rote … that’s ‘sorry, you can’t spend any more time on that because our curriculum maps say you have to do this tomorrow,’ and the child isn’t really interested in going there, they’re really not going to learn nearly as much.

So, yes, I believe it can be rigorous and I believe it’s our job as teachers to stay ten steps ahead to be true guides to help students develop.

Can you speak to the Montessori like aspects of his message? Peace studies and global awareness are two themes that come to mind.

Yes, this is very much the type of cosmic education that Maria Montessori cared about. Understanding our place in the world, figuring out that there are pieces that make up the whole, that we’re all part of that in some way and that our job is to find out how it all fits together… It’s all part of the continuum in a Montessori school.

His approach is very much what we do in Montessori—not only in the content delivery but in the content itself.

The entire World Peace Game is also very Montessori in that it is very hands-on and the teacher really steps back and guides the students to solve the problem on their own. Yes, it is a challenge and it’s a big challenge! World peace is not something you can solve in a day. But he has designed something that’s appropriately long enough for 4th, 5th and 6th graders and designed it to capture their attention and to extend their attention—and extend their thinking and learning and processing and their capacity to stay on a task.

These students are the future designers and inventors and entrepreneurs, the ones who are figuring all this out. I think it’s ingenious and it gives me hope.

 

 

Leadership Change at the Hull Lifesaving Museum

LoryNewmyerAfter 26 years at the Hull Lifesaving Museum, Lory Newmyer is sailing on. Through the Hull Lifesaving Museum, Lory touched the lives of every one of our Middle School students since our students began rowing and camping with HLM back in 1993. She taught them all how to think about “ship, shipmate, and self,” she safely guided each of them through Hull Gut as they learned to row those heavy lifesaving boats, and she shared many sunrises and sunsets with our students while camping on the Boston Harbor Islands every September.

We congratulate her on her amazing work at HLM and are grateful that Lory still serves as a trustee on the Inly Board (since 1995!) and is an active member of the Inly Council on Diversity and Equity.

To read Lory’s departure letter, click here.

To see a Patriot Ledger interview with Lory, click here.

Montessori Education and Nature: What’s the connection?

 

“When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them up in cupboards.”
– Dr. Maria Montessori

We hope that you will all able to join us for our April 3 Omran Speaker Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. This presentation has led us all at Inly to reflect on the close match between Richard Louv’s message and our mission at Inly as Montessori educators.

Montessori Philosophy: Combining indoor and outdoor classrooms

The Outdoor Classroom, nearly one year old, is already an integral part of the Inly curriculum at all levels—from Toddler through Middle School. It’s easy to think of this addition to our campus as a progressive new idea, but it’s actually rooted in a 100-year-old philosophy. Dr. Montessori was an early proponent of experiential learning and considered the outdoor environment a natural extension of the classroom. The Montessori connection makes sense: Contact with nature affords opportunities for rich sensorial experiences, a vital element of Montessori learning. It also supports the whole child—body, mind and soul—and promotes respect for all living things.

Dr. Montessori’s vision for schools was always a combination of indoor and outdoor classrooms. This was a way to study the interconnectedness of all things, a way for children to be able to study math and science, nature and the universe.

Montessori had deep reverence for the natural world, and her cosmic education curriculum, which runs from Toddler through Middle School at Inly, stresses the importance of grounding children in an understanding of themselves as a part of the greater universe.  She believed that we best develop an understanding of self when we understand the interconnectedness of all things— that true respect for self grows together with deep respect for others and for nature.

The Outdoor Classroom at Inly School: Integrating science, language arts, music and more

Our Outdoor Classroom is used extensively at all levels for many subjects—for science, language arts, music, art, practical life. We have a low ropes course for our upper grades to engage in leadership and trust activities, and outdoor music elements to enhance listening and creativity. Students are currently constructing a “secret garden” of their own as they read The Secret Garden with our school librarian and literature teacher. Each level at Inly now has its own garden. Even the toddlers have a garden of their own.

Students in Kindergarten and Lower Elementary (grades 1—3) have classes with Ellyn, an experienced and inspired naturalist, and our Upper Elementary and Middle School programs each have a trained natural scientist to weave scientific exploration and habits of mind into the all aspects of the curriculum for grades 4–8.

Outdoor Service Learning

In addition, in Upper Elementary, students begin participating in a service learning curriculum that includes partnerships with The North and South Rivers Watershed Association and Holly Hill Farm, and Middle School students leave campus for immersion experiences with the Hull Lifesaving Museum, Ocean Classroom and Heifer International’s Overlook Farm.

Integrating nature into the Inly curriculum

“Sit spots” are a good specific example of how we integrate nature into the curriculum. In Upper Elementary (grades 4, 5 and 6) students choose a spot on campus to visit each week throughout the school year.  From this vantage point they repeatedly observe their surroundings and watch how things change with the seasons. They sit with a journal and have been taught how to observe and then how to record those observations through writing, sketching, poetry. In this way, they are developing an essential scientific habit of mind – observation, but they are also being invited to do something even more rare in this age—to be still and to be present.

In Middle School (grades 7 and 8), this training continues with formal labs and lab reports;  with involvement in The Green Committee, dedicated to student initiated and implemented activities on campus to enhance Inly’s authentic commitment to green initiatives; and with “solo time,” a common component of Montessori middle school programs that deepens the practice of stillness—which is so essential, but so difficult for teens, and for us all.

To learn more…

Watch a video of outdoor experiential learning and Montessori “sit spots” here:  A Typical Day in an Upper Elementary Science Class Means Going Outside to Learn

Read an excerpt from Richard Louv’s bestseller Last Child in the Woods here: http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/excerpt/

Parting thoughts

“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” – Richard Louv

Inly and South Shore Natural Science Center Advocate for Outdoor Learning

While Inly marks its 40th anniversary this year, its Norwell neighbor, the South Shore Natural Science Center, is celebrating its 50th! The parent education talk with Richard Louv is just one highlight of the center’s celebration, but a very meaningful one.

Outdoor education speaker at Inly School

Best-selling author Richard Louv to speak in parent education series at Inly School

Folks from Inly and the Science Center came together to sponsor this talk, connected by a shared mission and similar core values. Read more about that in our news story in the Inly Mashup:

“Last Child in the Woods” Author to Discuss Nature Deficit Disorder, Child Development and the Role of Technology at Inly School on April 3

Both educational institutions believe that active, hands-on exploration outdoors fosters children’s natural curiosity and helps them gain a meaningful understanding of the world around them.

Conversation about Outdoor Play, Nature-Based Experiential Education and our Common Mission

We spoke with Tracey Merrill, executive director of the Science Center, about her goals for the upcoming talk on April 3rd.

Q: What do you hope people take away from this talk?

A: My hope for our members and visitors, students and families, anyone attending the talk, is that we all move to get kids outside—the earlier the better…exploring and discovering everything that nature has to offer.

I’d like us all to hear Richard’s message about how easily we are all distracted by technology…. and that there are tangible effects on kids. He makes a very compelling case about the rise in obesity, distractibility, social detachment… He wakes us up to the fact that we raise our children indoors…. to the fact that kids don’t know how to build tree houses or to use tools anymore.

There’s so much confidence and independence that comes with unstructured outdoor play. And learning as well. Skills like sequencing and numeracy and very connected to nature-based education.

South Shore Natural Science Center Norwell MAAbout the South Shore Natural Science Center

The South Shore Natural Science Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about the natural and cultural environments of the South Shore. Their mission is to provide natural science experiences that educate, excite, and commit every generation to preserve the environment and to encourage responsible use, stewardship and enjoyment of our natural resources. For more information, visit southshorenaturalsciencecenter.org.

Out and About with Inly Interns

Middle School internships at Inly School in Scituate MA

John and Laura interned in the Communications and Development departments at Inly School

Middle School students presented PowerPoint reports and reflections on their internships today, and audience members (including parents, faculty, and Upper Elementary students) were impressed with their level of self-confidence, self-knowledge and honesty!

We were able to catch up with a handful of Inly Middle School students for some quick feedback on their experiences during Internship Week.

John: Communications @ Inly School

The Communications department was lucky to have John Barthelmes on hand as a videographer and assistant during Internship Week. The 8th grader worked on shooting and editing an admissions video for the Toddler and Bridging program, as well as an animated logo sequence for use with other Inly School videos. He also assisted the Auction Committee with its digital slide show and volunteered extra time to help with Auction tasks.

An active member of the Middle School’s Communications Committee, John directed and edited the popular Inly Newsroom web series. A huge film enthusiast, John runs a multimedia production company called Warear Productions with his friend Evan and plans to pursue a career in the film industry.

Laura: Events @ Inly School

Laura did a stint in the Development office at Inly during the busiest week of the year! As an Event Planning intern for the Inly Auction, she was invaluable when it came to organizing materials and last-minute preparations. Laura worked on auction logistics from printing bid sheets and assembling packages to setting up at the venue and selling raffle tickets that evening.

Ali: WATD

Inly School intern at WATD in Marshfield MA

Ali interned at WATD Radio in Marshfield MA

Ali did her internship at WATD, the local radio station in Marshfield, where she learned about both news broadcasting and music programming. From observing the 6:00 a.m. program to helping with the evening news, she observed closely and “saw it all happening.” Ali says she’d like to get involved with radio in high school and college, and then maybe go into some sort of media or broadcast journalism. Listen to Ali’s on-air interview with Donna Milani Luther, head of school.

Inly School Expansion and Outdoor Classroom: Interview with Donna Milani Luther on WATD

Shaliyah: Thayer Academy Library

Shaliyah did her internship in the library at Thayer Academy. She was busy checking books—and laptops—in and out, and said it definitely put her organizational skills to the test. “I had to be very organized every day,” she said. Does she want to be a librarian? “Definitely not!” she said, and then laughed. It wasn’t too quiet, she explained, it was just a bit too sedentary. “I want a job where I can get up and move! I don’t think I want to just sit in one place.” On her last day there she did get away from her desk, to another part of campus. She was able to sit in on a history class, which her father was teaching. “Now that was fun,” she said.

Luke: Music Unlimited

Luke, a drummer and music fan, did his internship at Music Unlimited in Kingston. He enjoyed being in the music store atmosphere, surrounded by instruments and equipment. He liked dealing with customers on the floor (he wasn’t allowed to ring up sales because of their age requirement) and especially liked helping with inventory. “I wish there had been more inventory to help with, because I like doing that kind of work and I like to be busy.”

Alexa: Emerson Animal Hospital

Alexa, always an animal lover, did her internship at Emerson Animal Hospital. Although she admits to being nervous going into the experience, she emerged more enthusiastic than ever  and convinced that she wants to go into veterinary science. “I’ve always thought I’d live to be a vet some day, but the idea also kind of scared me. I didn’t know what it would be like but I really, really liked it. I think I definitely want to do this when I’m older.”

Cole: Loomis, Sayles and Company

Cole took a turn in a corporate setting in downtown Boston. Working at Loomis Sayles, an investment management firm, he assisted with customer service and organizational projects, which he enjoyed. Although he was not able to apply his math skills to global fund management, he was able to solve several problems.

So you engaged in problem-solving? “Yes.” Creative problem-solving? “Yes, I guess you could say that.” And did you enjoy this type of work? “Yes, I did.” Cole said that he liked working in a corporate office setting and would like to intern at a similar place in the future. (Don’t let the long hair fool you!)

Shaliyah interned in the Thayer Academy Library; Seynab was at the Somali Development Center

Thanks to our hosts for having Inly Middle School students!

With both 7th and 8th graders participating in Internship Week, the list of hosting organizations, institutions and businesses is long! This year’s hosts include:

Branson Airport, CT Outfitters, Celtic Paws, Duxbury Art Association, Emerson Veterinarian Clinic, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Holly Hill Farm, Loomis Sayles, Mass. Gymnastics Center, Music Unlimited, Osprey Builders, Pilgrim Area Collaborative, Puopolo’s Candies, Red Mango, R & C Farms, Sally Weston Assoc Architects, Salvation Army Kroc Center, The Shed Outlet, The Somali Development Center, South Shore Baseball Club, South Shore Conservatory of Music, South Shore YMCA Mill Pond, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Thayer Academy, Twist Creative Group, WATD, W. B. Mason, Weir River Farm

For more information on internships at Inly School, see:

Middle School Internship Program at Inly: Authentic experiential learning in action