Creative Games

GEMS Dubai American Academy

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

This is exactly 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.

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.

Our school started to implement the Fluencies this year. I have used similar styles of teaching last year but have changed my style of teaching towards the Fluencies this year. The results that we have been seeing thus far have been amazing.

Jaimie Powers

Gems Dubai AA

The most significant benefit has been to watch the students collaborate. One of the areas that PE focuses on is sportsmanship, and this assignment has allowed the students to truly demonstrate their sportsmanship and teamwork skills without me telling them that is what I am focusing on.

Jaimie Powers

Gems Dubai AA

My experience working with Lee Crockett was very informative. When working with him one on one it was great to get his feedback and perspective on how to take the Fluency that I am working on and use some ideas that would help me carry it out even more.

Jaimie Powers

Gems Dubai AA

What does it take to inspire

meaningful change?

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

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

“Imagine you walk outside to the playground and all of the equipment and toys are all gone,” she told her students in her scenario. “ 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 success?

Jaimie and her partner gave their kids 4 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 4 people. In addition, 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.

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“Due to the fact that 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 do we measure

growth and progress?

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  • 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 creative application of original ideas they work on together.
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  • 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 really stick with their learners as they take ownership of learning.
  • The Fluencies processes allow teachers to connect content topics to students’ personal interests and increase student engagement.
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  • 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 deeper culture of collaboration between students and teachers as well as between the teachers themselves.
  • Students are more empowered to adjust their own lifestyles to develop solutions for real-world problems that matter.

How do we continue 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 it is no longer me 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.”

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 important 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.”