Case Studies

Case Study: Creative Games

Jaimie Powers of GEMS Dubai American Academy asked learners to use the Fluencies to create their own original games, and the results were spectacular.

The GEMS Dubai American Academy is a vibrant international community rooted in a culture of kindness that creates and empowers leaders and independent thinkers. DAA prepares students to lead successful lives through the diversity of its community and the extra-curricular experiences that contribute to the development of the whole person.

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Nothing engages kids in learning like giving them a chance to play around, and when you add creativity and critical thinking you give them a chance to shine like never before.

This is what Jaimie Powers of GEMS Dubai American Academy did with her students when she asked them to use the Fluencies to create their own original games—and the results were spectacular.

How to we inspire lasting and meaningful change

Kids love to play, and the idea of playing to learn is a sure-fire way to get their attention to achieve truly inspired learning. Add creativity and critical thinking, and you'd be surprised by what your students can do. That's the experience of GEMS Dubai American Academy's Jaimie Powers. Jaimie is a Physical Education teacher and PS Specialist at DAA.

The Fluencies are intuitive growth-focused processes which are the perfect fit for modern learners.

Together with her teaching partner, she presented her students with a unique challenge based on the Essential Fluencies that would encourage her learners to imagine and play like never before.

"Imagine you go to the playground, and all the equipment and toys are gone," she told her students. "Your goal is to create a game that you can play only using four pieces of equipment." And that's where all the fun started. 

How do we plot a path to sucess

Jaimie and her partner gave their kids four pieces of starting equipment: dodgeballs, hula hoops, skipping ropes, and cones. The guidelines were simple—their games had to be completely original, have a clear set of rules, and had to be playable by at least four people. Also, they could use all the items or a few, but the rest was up to them.

At first, Jaimie found implementing the Fluencies a bit of a challenge, but their intuitive growth-focused processes were the perfect fit for the learners on this engaging project.

gems kids create games

GEMS PE learners work on their new game as a team

“Because we only had one idea between the two of us, we decided to give it a try and see where it took us,” Jaimie recalls. “As we developed the idea, we made it into a two-week lesson, and as time went on, we added more elements to the project.”

As for the achievements of the students themselves, Jaimie couldn’t have been more pleased. “Students are truly collaborating and sharing ideas as well as exploring different options that we would never have thought about in any PE class we taught previously.”

How best can we measure growth and progress

Since giving her students the challenge, Jaimie watched as their inner creativity and ingenuity came forth. The Fluencies processes gave them functional tools for exploring their own ideas and making them a reality. Here's what the experience taught her and her learners.

Students

The students of GEMS Dubai's younger PE classes developed a new love for learning with this lesson. In addition to enjoying profound creativity and critical thinking exercises, this is what else happened for them:

  • Students are collaborating and sharing ideas and exploring different options.
  • They are truly engaged and excited about the next step in the class.
  • Students have much more control over their learning using the Fluencies processes.
  • They are mastering the skills they need through the creative application of original ideas they work on together.

    Teachers

    Jaimie and her teaching partner claim the most significant benefit has been to watch the students collaborate. Beyond that, working with the Fluencies has enhanced their practice in other ways.

    • The Fluencies provide a framework for teachers to act as facilitators of student learning, allowing the students themselves to take the lead.
    • Teachers are seeing the lessons stick with their learners as they take ownership of learning.
    • The Fluencies processes allow teachers to connect content topics to students’ interests and increase student engagement.

    School Culture

    GEMS DAA started to implement the Fluencies a few years ago. They had used similar styles of teaching before, but the results they have seen with the Fluencies have been the most rewarding.

    • Teachers have new insights on how to relinquish control to students for their learning while still achieving curriculum objectives and student growth.
    • There is a more rooted culture of collaboration between students and teachers as well as between the teachers themselves.
    • Students are more empowered to adjust their lifestyles to develop solutions for real-world problems that matter.


      How do we ensure learning continues to improve and excel

      The takeaways for Jaimie and her learners are about as positive as you can imagine. "The students now have a lot more control over our PE lessons, and I truly feel like I'm no longer just giving out different games and skills for them to master," observes Jaimie. "They are mastering the skills that they need to be mastering through the games they are creating."

      gems kids try out a game

      A group of GEMS kids try out their brand new game

      Students will be using iPads to record game demos and creating a poster for their next lesson presentations. After that, it will be time to let KG1 and KG2 students test out the games for themselves. Jaimie feels that having the students control the class gives them a sense of purpose and value and a feeling that they are essential participants in the gym community.

      What are the next steps for Jaimie and her learners at DAA? "The next steps are to continue with the Fluencies and slowly start adding them into all grade levels," she claims. "We will be working with grades 1 and 2 next, and by the end of the year we will be including KG1 and KG2 students in this process as well."

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