By: Laura, Sarah, and Paula, the Innovation and Design Team
In August, Dr. McClurg challenged all of us to begin a journey from the tame to the wild, and as evidenced by some of the data Sarah, Paula, and I put together about our year, the DMUSD staff did just that. This year for us has been a monumental year of learning, creativity, and celebration, which would not have been possible if not for the amazing staff we were fortunate to work with throughout this school year.
When people think and act like a designer, they must be able to see not just what is, but what might be. The design thinking opportunities teachers facilitated for students this year truly exposed students to what might be by helping students discover their inner genius, and then empowering students to use that genius to advance the world. We watched in awe as students demonstrated sincere empathy and felt a call to action within, and outside of, design thinking experiences. We felt joy when watching the faces of teachers as they saw their students demonstrate their passion for learning. And we enjoyed seeing those proud parents listen to their children present their prototype solutions at packed exhibitions!
And we learned a lot, too! We learned...
- how important it is to always start with why and to know the priorities. When people understand the why and have an opportunity to be a voice in building the how and what, there is a greater success in change efforts.
- that every site and teacher, just like every student, has unique qualities requiring a customized approach to integrate design thinking experiences.
- connecting with industry experts to not only dive deeper into the content standards and relevant application to careers today, but to provide high-quality feedback on student thinking, exponentially increases student learning. And that expeditionary partnerships with local organizations is truly a game changer that leads to extraordinary experiences for students!
- a constant feedback loop is important from all stakeholders. Feedback, or better yet, feedforward, is an art form, and we are all working towards being master artists.
- our beliefs and experiences inform our actions. It is critical to give people an opportunity to experience something new for themselves so that they are empowered to contribute to leading change initiatives.
We have some hopes and plans moving forward to the 2018-19 school year. Besides continuing to support the momentum for implementing design thinking experiences in the classroom, we are looking to increase opportunities for expeditionary partnerships and industry expert connections. We're building design thinking-ish mini-experiences that teachers can use within a lesson, as well as redesigning some of our planning tools to be more user-friendly.
We are thankful to each and every staff member and student of DMUSD for the opportunity to serve you, and look forward to continuing in our unrelenting pursuit to create the extraordinary school experience for all students.
See ya next school year!
By: Holly Morey, Torrey Hills Teacher
This blog post is a follow up to the Design Thinking challenge that Torrey Hills students completed in December. Original Blog Post: Torrey Hills Students Get Real-Life Insight as They Design Tiny Houses
Of course, we wanted to share our Tiny Homes Design Thinking project with our community! We had no idea the opportunity to empower our students to be advocates for change in the world would be a result. We were able to bring students from exhibiting their work to making conclusions about how our community could benefit from their findings.
Back in April, we received an email from the Planning Department at the City of Del Mar. The Mayor, Dwight Worden, read the article from the Union Tribune about Torrey Hills Hawks 5th and 6th Graders participating in a Tiny Home Design Thinking Project. We were officially invited to present at the Del Mar City Council Meeting in May.
The students were filled with excitement to get to meet the Mayor! After submitting an application to their teachers stating why they were interested in presenting, four students were selected. 6th Grader Dylan wrote in his application, “I want to influence the decision makers of Del Mar to consider people’s housing needs to make this city better for everyone”.
Shaun McMahon informed us that the City of Del Mar is planning to build 22 houses by the year 2022. Tiny homes are among those being considered for the community. Our student experts could give insight from their research and share how tiny homes are a good fit for people with a variety of needs. Having the experience of hearing from a wide range of speakers on housing issues, such as elderly, disabled, homeless, and Veterans, gave these students perspective on who might benefit from having an affordable, manageable, sustainable Tiny Home.
Speeches were written, slideshow was ready, and the presentation began. 6th Grader Chinmayi recaps, “the central message of the students was to convince the Council that Tiny Homes are a flexible, sustainable housing option”. The City Council Members and the community were a gracious audience and the students presented their “why” behind the project beautifully. Giving students the opportunity to expand their lens on critical issues that surround urban planning and development, allowed them to experience “real world” problems that cities face and be a part of designing a solution.
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