At Turning Point School, we integrate project-based learning into our curriculum, in order to improve learning and to allow students to perform work that can make a difference in their communities and the larger world. First grade teacher and Service Learning Coordinator Tessa Short was selected by the Buck Institute of Education as one of seven teachers nationwide to create a project based learning unit for the Facing Difference Challenge by Students Rebuild. Her working group focused on resolving conflict through peace, and together they designed curricula for elementary and middle school students that addressed the charge: How can student leaders advocate for peace?
If you wander the hallways on the ground floor of Building 1, you will see the first grade interactive bulletin boards integrating the five senses with expressions of peace. Children described ways in which they see, hear, smell, touch, and feel peace and invite community members to contribute their own impressions of peace. Whether it is the soothing smell of your grandmother’s chicken soup, the feel of a cozy blanket, the sight of a good friend whom you know will listen to you—please come by and post your experiences and read what our wise, young students have reported.
Ms. Short recently published a blog post on the Buck Institute’s website about her experiences with the other six fellows implementing design thinking for the Peace by Piece curricula. I hope you will all read her post, which serves as a primer in design thinking as well as a fascinating step-by-step unfolding of relevant, real-world lessons that even our youngest elementary students can appreciate. We are lucky to have innovative teachers like Ms. Short who strive to inspire students to make a mark on their worlds and to be able to reflect meaningfully on their efforts.
Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School