The Prodigy Way
Why is a studio or tinkering space important? Considering that the top jobs in the future and the problems that individuals and societies face are yet to be determined, it is essential that tomorrow’s leaders are practicing particular skills. These skills include troubleshooting, critical thinking, repurposing, problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, asking the right questions and accessing resources effectively, and communication. These skills are developed through practice. In the traditional classroom format, the emphasis is on rote memorization and regurgitation of information. While it is indeed helpful to develop memorization and to increase general and specialized knowledge of information, the studio will be the space in which students exercise their knowledge and skills. The end result will be an authentic, genuine product and students who can effectively navigate in this information age.
- The designated makerspace will have tools and resources available that students can access.
- Students will create through “messing around” or tinkering with different materials.
- Student creations may require many attempts as a result of failure and this is good.
- Students may spend time in this area even if they don’t have a specific goal in mind. Their ideas and projects may come to life in time.
- Students can use the TMI- Think, Make, and Improve design model (Martinez & Stager, 2013). “It’s a simple model that encourages flexibility, collaboration, and reflection while still propelling students forward in their projects. When students feel “stuck” in their process, they can step back and consider the design model and regroup their efforts. For students who are hesitant or resistant to making, creating, and tinkering, this simple process will help them to work through each stage as they gain familiarity and confidence in becoming a maker.” (Miakuartei, 2015)
- A growth mindset will be key. Martinez, S. L. and Stager, G. S. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. June 9, 2015, Author By Miakuartei, Posted in Emerging Technology
Students will learn stewardship by learning the process of caring for living things. The great scientist, Dr. George Washington Carver said, “If you love it enough, anything will talk with you.” This is essentially the basis of stewardship. It is rooted in love. But, it is also the development of deep understanding. At Prodigy, the underlying culture of all that we do is based in the practices of love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. As students tend to the gardens, greenhouses, animals, and their own classmates, their joy and wonder will grow. They will increasingly recognize their own abilities as cultivators of love and life. The knowledge of cycles and the important relationships between all of life will develop through teacher instruction and student contact with a variety of living things. The end result will be students who are responsible, wise, and caring stewards of life.
- Implementing the edible schoolyard and farm to table curriculum elements, students will cultivate and tend plants in greenhouses, traditional soil gardens, rooftop gardens, orchards, and an aquaponics system.
- Students will care for chickens and other farm animals.
- Sustainable energy systems will be used throughout the building and campus.
- A rainwater collection system will be used to support the plants and animals.
- Prodigy will implement recycle and repurpose programs and curriculum elements.
Celebrating students’ unique talents and God given gifts is integral to our emphasis on the arts. The arts provide a creative platform for students to express themselves and what they are learning with emotion, beauty, and excellence, and is an alternative form of assessment. Innate talents and gifts will be developed and expressed both individually and collectively. An appreciation for historical and current cultures will also be cultivated and emphasized. Student motivation and joy tends to be increased through creative endeavors.
- Students will participate in a robust visual and performing arts program.
- Students will represent what they are learning in creative ways through the arts.
- Relationships with local community will be established to develop current understanding and perspectives.
- Multicultural awareness will be fostered through relationships with international communities.
- Access to a plethora of creative resources and supportive audiences will be a priority.
We believe the community is a perfect resource for students to experience learning in an authentic way. Visiting specific locations that support classroom topics makes learning come alive. Inviting guest speakers to share their expertise and life experience is another way we broaden student understanding. This also allows children to make connections to what resources are available to them and potentially what careers they may want to pursue in the future.
- Weekly visits to the Public Library
- Field trips that support projects and learning in the classroom
- Guest speakers
Assessment at Prodigy, is a close, working relationship between both the child and teacher. We assess students in a variety of ways to show both the attainment of knowledge and the growth of the whole child. Student growth and progress is monitored through observation, verbal feedback and interviews, documentation of student work through presentations and portfolios, and formative assessments. New students may be given diagnostic tests to determine placement for beginning work. Reading assessments are given three times a year to PreK-4th grades with standardized testing beginning in fifth grade.
- Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) – http://www.hmhco.com/hmh-assessments/achievement/iowa-assessment – Students in grades 5 and up
- Reading Specialist, Kim Lawson gathers diagnostic data and provides progress updates
Space is created to support inquiry and attainment of knowledge through collaborative group work, direct instruction, and the need of the individual students. Projects and completed activities are displayed to inspire further growth, reflection, and to celebrate students. To understand this best, come visit!