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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.