experiments, instruments & measurement book

New Beginnings: Familiarity and Freshness

 

By Suri Jacknis, Co-Director, Congregational Learning

It is Hodesh Elul.  Time to prepare for the High Holidays emotionally, spiritually and physically.  It is a time for reflection on our lives and taking stock, for reconnecting with our personal vision for how we want to live.  It is also a time for connecting with and sending holiday greetings to family and friends, preparing for setting or joining a holiday table and doing some cleaning so we feel like we are making a clean and fresh start.  Doing these preparations connects us with the cycle of Jewish time as we remember with familiarity doing these things in other years.   This gives us comfort and continuity. At the same time, engaging in these pre-holiday activities is exciting and energizing as we anticipate the new start ahead.

As an educator, I feel like my Jewish self and my professional self are in sync as I also prepare for the start of the new school year.  I reflect on the past school year and the lessons learned and focus on the things I have decided to revise for the future.   I also think about my vision for myself as an educator and resolve to do certain things that will bring me closer to my aspirations. There are elements of familiarity and comfort with my rituals in leading up to the opening days of school.  At the same time, I can feel the adrenaline flowing and the anticipation growing.  I am a little nervous, but mostly joyful as I am lucky to be doing what I love.

This New Year in particular also brings the excitement of being able to build on Cyd Weissman’s amazing legacy for our Coalition of Innovating Congregations.  Cyd gave us the courage to work on new models for 21st century families, to attend to the whole person, to pay attention to outcomes and assessment and to embed the design principles for powerful learning. For many of us, these concepts are familiar and comfortable, as we have worked with and on them in past years.  Yet, they are also alive and exciting as there are new goals to set and new ways that we can deepen our work aligned to these important foundational ideas.

This year, I am excited to partner with my wonderful colleague, Rabbi Jennifer Goldsmith to lead the work in congregational learning as we continue some of our successful initiatives such as I*Express, Coalition Peer Networks, and Congregational Consulting as well as begin to imagine new possibilities.  Collaborating with Jennifer is helping me to grow, to hear new perspectives and to appreciate the great talents and strengths that she brings to this work.

I am also very happy to continue working with our congregational learning team of wonderful professionals including core staff members, Ellen Rank and Susie Tessel, our project manager, Catherine Schwartz, and our consultants Jo Kay, Mike Mellen, Susan Ticker and some other talented educational leaders that will be contributing to our work.  Our main goal remains to offer thought leadership and skilled consultancy to our congregations.

In honor of this New Year, I want to share something inspirational that has both familiar and new elements.  I read an interesting article on Edutopia about the work of Bernajean Porter, a teacher interested in digital storytelling.    Bernajean has a project called I-Imagine:  Taking My Place in the world.  She asks learners to produce “vision videos” in which they star as protagonists of the lives they are living, 20 years into the future.  This process includes asking learners about their hopes and dreams and what gives them joy and energy and “fires up their engines.”  Porter adds, “We ask students to tell the story of how they will shine their light for good in the world.”  Students reflect on what is special about them and what their gifts are.  http://www.edutopia.org/blog/start-school-year-awakening-your-dreamers-suzie-boss?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=081915%20enews%20ibl%20ngm%20remainder&utm_content=&utm_term=fea1hed&spMailingID=12173425&spUserID=NDYxNTY5OTMzODAS1&spJobID=601358453&spReportId=NjAxMzU4NDUzS0

This kind of a project captured my imagination as a wonderful way to start the year by building relationships with learners.  At its heart, it is about listening to learners share their hopes and dreams and what they are passionate about.  It gives us a chance to learn about each learner’s special gifts.  It gives us educators the opportunity to encourage each learner to embrace his/her own uniqueness and value in this world.

This kind of project is also about putting learners at the center, empowering learners to take charge of their own learning and their own lives. It is a way to develop the idea of having a personal vision for the way that you live your life, of having long-term goals and aspirations for yourself that can be about careers but can also be about Mitzvot, doing acts of Kindness and showing responsibility for others and for this planet.  And it can be about Midot, developing desired character traits/virtues and being the type of person that you want to be.  What a great way to start the school year both with reflection and aspiration.  How very fitting for this Rosh Hashana season in which we both rejoice in the familiar and welcome in fresh ideas and possibilities.

May this New Year Ahead, 5776, be one of good health and many blessings for each of you!  My best wishes for a Shana Tova U’metukah, a Good and Sweet Year!

 

Suri Jacknis

August 2015

Elul 5775

My In-SITE-ful Journey to Temple Israel Center’s Shorashim Model of Learning

My In-SITE-ful Journey to Temple Israel Center’s Shorashim Model of Learning
Posted by Ben Alpert in In-SITE-Ful Journeys, Suri Jacknis

3/20/15

By Suri Jacknis

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to take advantage of an In-SITE-ful Journey to Temple Israel Center in White Plains where Nancy Parkes is the educational director. This visit was organized Susan Ticker, educational consultant as part of her work with Congregational Learning and the Coalition of Innovating Congregations at The Jewish Education Project.  We came to visit Shorashim, TIC’s innovative model for learners and their families in K-6.

Our visit to Shorashim took place on an ordinary Sunday, when learning was in full swing, but there was no special family learning program or large whole school event (which are frequent).  So it was just an ordinary day that turned out to be extraordinary in so many ways – an extraordinary day of powerful learning that happens each and every week.  How lucky I feel to have been a part of it for this one ordinary day.

nancy couch

What Stood Out for Me?

The atmosphere of intentionality and team.  It is clear that the learning is designed with thought and care, the staff is well-prepared and the environment is set to support the learning that unfolds.  Every educator had multiple colleagues to maximize the support for learning in every space. Each grade featured the presence of a caring lead educator, a co-educator or assistant teacher as well as three mature madrichim (teen leaders) who were invested and empowered to lead. There was a clear plan on the wall of every learning space that signaled what was to be expected.  In one classroom I saw that the wall highlighted the ‘big idea’ for the learning of the day and displayed a student -generated web of concepts related to Pesach that was probably a diagnostic tool to assess what the students knew, what could be built on, and what would be the next steps.  In addition, it was obvious that the learners were used to working in teams, to sharing responsibility, to giving everyone a role, and to listening to each other.

We saw the director as a teacher-facilitator sharing a classroom with a co-teacher who is a community educator, and with three madrichim just as the other educators were part of a teaching team.  The director models the way of being a part of her educational team by putting herself in the middle of the action as an active facilitator and partner on the learning team.IMG_1529

The staffing structure supports Jewish Learning and  in an Extraordinary way.  Community Educators make an extraordinary impact on education at TIC.  Young, dynamic, camp-counselor-type community educators are effective role models and educational leaders that build relationships and are truly present for the learners both during the formal learning times, and also on Shabbat and holidays, as well as at lifecycle and community events.  They are part of the community and live Judaism as part of the daily lives of the families at TIC.  They meet regularly as a team to plan learning that integrates with the whole of the Jewish journey and bring a level of creativity and positive energy to the community that cannot be underestimated.  Nancy explained that moving from having part-time teachers to full-time community educators was a “budget neutral move” that has created a new reality and sense of possibility that is truly amazing.

There was an overwhelming presence of authentic materials of Jewish life and the invitation to explore and discover. The materials and supplies to enhance learning were evident in every space.  The curricular materials, the ritual objects and, the art materials were in evidence everywhere.  Most were authentic Jewish materials –as we were in the pre-Pesach period, there were Seder plates, Seder table items, photos of the 12 steps, Pesach foods and actual parsley, horseradish roots, etc…  There were Humashim to find the story and Haggadot.  There was activity and discovery at every turn.  And there was conversation, and yes, it was not quiet but it was purposeful and it was clear that learners were engaged, that their questions and interpretations were honored and encouraged.  And that the center of learning was most clearly the learner.

The learning was largely experiential and featured opportunities to work in small groups, in pairs as well as in larger groupings or teams. Various groups of learners learned Torah in the Beit Midrash in small groups.  On this day, learning conversations centered on appreciating the importance of numbers in the Jewish tradition as a whole as well as in the Pesach story.  On other days, there is the experience of learning text in pairs or in small groups as our people have done for centuries as Hevruta learning.IMG_1498

We saw learners engaged in a Parasha scavenger hunt in teams and we saw learners have a chance to be up close and personal with a Torah Scroll in the sanctuary, guided by their teacher to appreciate the holiness of Torah. We saw kids who had just finished a unit on Shabbat that culminated in learning all about and making Challah— compare this Challah to Matzah and find as many similarities and differences that they could.  We saw younger students engaged in learning the steps of the Seder by actually “doing the steps” and being photographed doing each step.

We noticed the flexible groupings of learners and noted that the typical ratio for learning was one facilitator for every 5-6 kids.  We saw a lot of learning stations and coaching by facilitators in support of the learning.  We also saw that there were learning materials that were well matched to the learning goals of each learning experience and that the learning experiences were all tied to the larger outcomes and big ideas that were posted on the walls.

There was a big emphasis on community and on spirituality in a Jewish context. The day began with a communal meeting for tefillah.  We were warmly greeted upon entering a prayer space, whose walls were covered with Mishkan fabrics that had been designed by the learners.  We sat in a circle to face each other and be part of the community.  On our chairs were bracha stones that the kids had made to give them kavana. They had words, colors and images which helped the kids get ready to pray… and they were around to touch and hold onto to ground our prayers with meaning and stability.  There was a lot of spirited singing, punctuated by prayers with motions and sign language.  The team of prayer facilitators were the educational director, the full-time community educators, the teachers and the teen madrichm who sat scattered as role models and guides throughout the kahal.  We had a Siddur to follow, but we also had an ashrei prayer supplement that showed a colorful picture/icon under words which were easily visualized.  Davening the Ashrei from this visual tefillah allows the person praying to experience the words in new ways— no translation needed.  The facilitator would offer occasional preview cues to create a framework of meaning for the coming prayer.  There were moments of quiet for individual prayer and many moments of clapping and singing and moving.  It was a prayerful start to our day.

It is obvious that spirituality and developing a relationship with God and prayer are part of this culture.  We could see that by entering a classroom to see a small group of young learners clustered around a computer with the teacher at the keyboard typing learner responses to conversation starters about a time when they prayed and when they felt close to God.

The atmosphere was one of a purposeful and welcoming community. We learned from the director that a big theme of this year is welcoming and inclusion and that many learners with special needs are part of the community.  We were introduced to the learning specialist who seemed so lovely, beloved and integrated into every part of the learning tapestry.  We heard from Nancy Parkes about her building community by using the techniques from The Responsive Classroom, especially the welcoming circle where children learn to listen and tend to each other, to make eye contact, to ask appropriate follow-up questions, and to value and appreciate each other.

The physical environment was inviting and beautiful and supported the learning. We appreciated that the walls of the entire educational space (and this space was the best part of the three floors of the building) were “an educational tableau.”  Nancy explained that the educational council had moved from prohibiting the hanging of things on walls to inviting the beautification of the walls as a rich opportunity to display deep learning and reflection.  Indeed the walls are adorned with magnificent and well placed works of art that are culminating projects, learning benchmarks, and educational resources that are so engaging that they invite further learning and exploration and engender pride in this learning community.IMG_1516

The Day of Learning is bookended by set-induction/connection and reflection. Nancy mentioned to us that the practice of welcoming and beginning learning with a connection and a trigger that sets the learners up for a productive day of learning has become part of the way that all meetings in the synagogue community open.  Similarly, the day of learning closes with multiple opportunities for reflection and processing the learning that happened that day.  I witnessed reflection happening in small groups where the learners drew and wrote a comment about what stood out to them from that day and what they want to think more about.  Learners wrote and drew with crayon on construction paper and the facilitator carefully collected and treasured each reflection.  You could tell that the learners were used to meeting this challenge each time they met.  Everyone sat quietly and wrote and drew something that was meaningful to them.  The teaching team reviews these reflections and builds some mention of them into the next learning session.

I feel lucky to have visited Temple Israel Center’s Shorashim on an ordinary day.  I will treasure my own powerful learning experience as an extraordinary opportunity to see learning that makes a positive difference in learner’s lives in a very Jewish context of everyday life.  Thanks to Nancy Parkes, to Lisa Schwartz, to Michelle Steinhardt, to Amy Rosenbaum, Ilene Bloom Cohen, and Alex Schostak and to the entire staff at Temple Israel Center for their warm hospitality and amazing work!

Building Community at Park Avenue Synagogue

Building Community at Park Avenue Synagogue
Posted by Ben Alpert in Bold Models, Innovation, Suri Jacknis

1/15/15

Sarah Lipsey Brokman is an inspiring educator from Park Avenue Synagogue who actively participates in Titchadesh, a Coalition of Innovating Congregations Peer Network made up of Jewish educators who support innovative advancements in congregational learning. With the support of their peers, the Titchadesh network empowers young, dynamic professionals to experiment with fresh ideas and bring their visions to life. All of the educators in the Titchadesh network are full time educators in congregations.  This new staffing structure enables congregations to adapt new models of education – like fully engaging parents as well as children. Our network congregations now have a better capacity to launch programs that fulfill the hopes and dreams of their communities.  

 As the facilitator of Titchadesh, I have the pleasure of engaging regularly with these young leaders. Through our protocols and shared conversations, I witness the incredible work taking place at our participating sites. To widely share their successes, I recently asked participants to share their stories by submitting a blog post to InnovatingCongregations.org,  and I am so thrilled that Sarah heeded this call.

You will enjoy “meeting” Sarah in this post and you’ll gain a glimpse into the amazing model she and her colleagues have built. Here is her powerful story. 

– Suri Jacknis, Associate Director of The Coalition of Innovating Congregations

 

Building Community

By Sarah Lipsey Brokman with an introduction by Suri Jacknis

As a kid, I was lucky enough to grow up in a vibrant Jewish community.  I loved being in shul and spent many hours of my childhood feeling loved by my shul community.  One winter Shabbat, when I was nine years old, both of my parents went home separately after kiddush, thinking that the other parent had taken me home.  They arrived home twenty minutes later to realize that they had left me at synagogue.  My dad drove back in a panic, sure that I would be sitting outside of the building terrified that I had been left alone.  When he arrived, he couldn’t find me because I was inside playing hide and seek with all of my friends.  Since I was so comfortable at my shul, I hadn’t even noticed that my parents had left.  In the event that I had noticed my parents weren’t in the building anymore, there were a dozen other adults I could have gone to for help.  Being connected to this type of synagogue community is why I decided to become a Jewish educator.

Four years ago I began working at Park Avenue Synagogue (PAS) as one of the Assistant Directors in the Congregational School.  I walked into an environment of creative innovation and change at PAS, where the leadership challenged me to dream as big as possible.  I began to reflect on why I became a Jewish educator and I knew I needed to find a way to create that feeling of “home” for the families of PAS that I had for my home shul.  I envisioned a group of families with children in third and fourth grades who were looking for a deeper connection to both the PAS synagogue community and their own individual Jewish identities.  The goal would be to bring these families together to share their values, feelings and thoughts about raising Jewish families.  I decided to call this group, The Covenanting Group because, I wanted people to know that they were joining a group which honored their brit, their covenant, to their Jewish identities and to the PAS community.  I spent the summer reaching out to families and advertising to the whole community. By September, twelve families signed up.  Since I had already decided that I would have run the program with five families, this was a huge success!

The first Covenanting Group event took place in the sanctuary with Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove.  As Rabbi Cosgrove and I welcomed the group, a shiver of electricity ran through me.  The idea had come to fruition.  Rabbi Cosgrove asked each family to spread out in the sanctuary and discuss their goals for the year in The Covenanting Group.  The families all expressed one common value: community.  The group’s purpose became clear.  We spent the year learning together and creating a community within our already vibrant PAS community.

10479736_362655890572202_8166552869148709356_n

As we began to plan for a second cohort of The Covenanting Group, I reflected back on the pilot group’s experience.  I realized that we needed to increase the time spent doing Jewish learning – so we partnered with ShalomLearning and made once-a-month online learning part of The Covenanting Group experience.  The communal programming was centered on Shabbat and holidays, a decision which helped our group connect to the Jewish calendar in a more meaningful way.  The biggest learning from that first year was the recognition that the group needed an immersive experience to culminate the year.

This capstone experience was a retreat that occurred in April filled with learning, food and fun.  The adults were able to schmooze, while the kids played and intensified their already strong friendships.  During one activity, the families created a “values map” using strips of paper with 15 different Jewish values, which each family ordered according to the importance in their family’s life.  These conversations were by no means easy, but the buzz of immersive family learning was one I had never experienced before.  After the families finished working with their own values maps, each family shared their map with another family.  I watched as a major goal of The Covenanting Group came to life: families sharing their Jewish values with one another. Since we grappled with big questions of Jewish identity, values and meaning, the families were now able share their answers with each other, in hopes of inspiring more meaningful Jewish engagement as a community.

As I work with the 21 families in the third cohort of The Covenanting Group, I remember being a 9 year old child playing in shul.  Creating a space within the synagogue community to play, learn and connect is a necessary component of Jewish life.  As we look to find ways to keep Jews involved in synagogue and communal life, these connections are at the core.   Helping people connect to one another on a deep Jewish level is the most rewarding and important thing I have done thus far in my career.  This group is a vehicle for connection, a way for families to find “home” at PAS.

Standing as a Learning Strategy

Standing as a Learning Strategy
Posted by Ben Alpert in Suri Jacknis

8/13/14

By Suri Jacknis

I want to give a shout out to kinesthetic learners….those who learn best through moving their bodies. Many of us are attuned to giving our learners a break by standing up and doing some exercise or movement but how many of us plan primary learning experiences that involve using our bodies. Erica Brown has brought to mind images of people reading on the treadmill at the gym, people pacing back and forth studying for finals, and times that I incorporated running relay races to enliven our study of some content knowledge.

In this commentary, Dr. Brown conjures up teaching/studying Torah while standing as one way of imatio Deo, of imitating God’s standing with us at Sinai as God taught us the Law. It reminds us that form follows function….that by standing while learning we express our respect for the Torah, for our teachers and for students…without saying any special words of appreciation. Our body language speaks volumes for us. In addition, standing frees up our bodies in service of deep learning. We are perhaps more attentive when we stand and more expressive in interacting with what we learn….swaying and shuckeling at Shtenders is one way of interacting with the texts in a very personal and involved way.

And I like that Dr. Brown reflects on the spaces in which we can do our best learning through movement and recommends that we move beyond the confined walls of the classroom to the beit midrash, to outside spaces and beyond. More space, especially with nature around us encourages us to be more expansive and expressive in our movement.

And finally, I appreciate Dr. Brown’s concluding her article by circling back to our relationship with Israel and to thinking about what it means to “stand with Israel.” Now that we have entered a ceasefire period, how are we going to turn the intensity of our support in time of acute crisis to connecting with Israel and Am Yisrael as part of our everyday lives.

I appreciate the suggestion of Rava to stand for learning easier material, while sitting for the intense concentration required for more difficult material. To build on the metaphor with Israel, in the quiet of this period as Operation Protective Edge draws to a close, may we also sit and work out our continuing relationships with Israel with intention and vigor.

Read full piece by Erica Brown below:

There is an argument taking place among writers right now. Is it better ergonomically to write while sitting or to write while standing? Hemingway used to write while standing as did Nabakov. We’ve see an emergence of the writing desk and even the treadmill desk for those who can really multi-task. A. J. Jacobs devotes a section in his book Drop Dead Healthy to this question, saying “The desk is where most of the Crimes of Excessive Sedentary Behavior occur.” Since he wrote this book to experiment with ways to achieve optimal health, he piled 3 cardboard boxes on top of each other on his desk and started to answer e-mails.

“It didn’t go badly,” he writes. “I shifted and rocked a lot. I kind of looked like an Orthodox Jew praying atthe Western Wall, but with a MacBook instead of a Torah.” His breakthrough came when he followed the advice of Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic and rigged a desk on his treadmill, what some have called deskercise and others have termed iPlodding. He wanted to write the whole book on this desk and even includes a picture of his invention. He claims it helps him focus.

Because our sedentary behavior cause aches and pains, scholars of old also took on this question. Is it better to sit or stand while learning Torah?

In the Talmud [BT Megilla 21a], the beautiful imperative above – to stand with Me – was understood as an ancient way we partnered with God. “The phrase ‘with Me’ indicates, as it were, even the Holy One, Blessed be He, was standing [at Mount Sinai].” We never think of God as standing with us at Sinai but as giving us something. The idea that God was not only giving us teachings but also standing beside us to support the way that we received them has great value in helping us understand the nature of transmission.

The Talmud then extrapolates, as it so often does. If God stood with us at Sinai to teach us, then teachers must also stand by their students when teaching them: “From where is it derived that the teacher should not sit on a couch and teach his disciple while he is sitting on the ground? “But as for you, stand here with Me.” To this, one sage added, “From the days of Moses until the time of Rabban Gamliel [grandson of Hillel], they would study Torah while standing.” Standing was a way of honoring Torah and an act akin to receiving the Torah at Sinai again. It was also a way to honor the teacher/disciple relationship. If we want people to really learn, we go to where they are to teach them. Why did this practice change, the Talmud ponders? “When Rabban Gamliel died, weakness descended to the world, and they would study Torah while sitting.”

Sitting while teaching was a sign of weakness. The sages debated the point. In Deuteronomy, one verse says, “And I sat on the mount” while another says, “And I stood on the mount” (Deuteronomy 10:10). This is interpreted by the sage Rav to mean that “Moses would stand and learn Torah from God and sit and review what he learned.” Rabbi Hanina said, “Moses was not sitting or standing but bowing.” Rabbi Yohanan believed this means that Moses simply stayed in one place when he taught where Rava said, “Moses studied easy material while standing and difficult material while sitting.”

We have constructed very set spaces for learning that may not optimize our study. Our imaginations are often locked into the classrooms of our childhoods: desks evenly spaced apart facing the teacher’s desk in neat rows. Very little about real learning, the integration of knowledge and wisdom develop this way. The Talmud understood that when we learn we need movement.

The Talmudic passage also made me think of the expression “to stand with Israel.” We mean that we are together in unity and support. But I thought of Rava’s contribution to this debate. Moses studied easy material while standing and difficult material while sitting. It may be easier to stand with Israel than to sit with Israel, to consider the complex and nuanced ways we can support our homeland in crisis. Slogans, reverse racism, simple political bantering are ways that people tend to protest – to stand with Israel – but real, long-term solutions can never be reduced to a simple formula. They always involve loss, anguish, compromise, patience, diplomacy and resilience.

It’s time to stand with Israel and to sit with Israel, too.

Shabbat Shalom

Empowering Young People to Change the World: How Surrounding People with a Culture of Innovation Leads to Amazing Results

Empowering Young People to Change the World:  How Surrounding People with a Culture of Innovation Leads to Amazing Results
Posted by Ben Alpert in Suri Jacknis

6/10/14

By Suri Jacknis

My colleague Sara Shapiro Plevan just highlighted this article in her posting yesterday on JEDLAB… and when Sara posts, I pay attention. This is an article about an 11 year old girl, Lily Born, who notices that her grandfather was spilling his drinks due to his Parkinson’s disease and committed herself to inventing a cup that would be age appropriate (not a sippy cup) that would be virtually “spill-proof.” Notably, this 11-year old girl grew up in a household with a culture of experimentation (her father is an inventor and plays an important supporting role in this story). When Lily identified this problem she immediately felt that she could come up with something that could solve this problem. In the article, Lily speaks about her many failures in order to get a successful design out of the right materials. She succeeded in the creation of the Kangaroo cup, a cup with multiple legs for maximum stability, with a bottom that does not touch the table (so no need for coasters!) Now she is on a quest through kickstarter to crowd-source her cups so that she can pay for ‘tooling up’ the plastic factory to mass-produce her them.

This story is so inspirational on so many levels. Talk about empowering young people and people of any age to feel that they can see a problem and keep working toward a solution. It is also a story about identifying resources, especially other people who can collaborate and offer their perspectives, ideas and suggestions in order to help refine a solution. This story also highlights the role of marketing in order to help your ideas reach a wider audience through crowd-sourcing.

Sara also points out that this story is ultimately a story about the key value of honoring one’s parents and grandparents. Lily loves and honors her grandfather and wants him to be able to drink his beverages with dignity. She also honors her father’s tradition of invention and asks for his support to refine her idea and connect her to others who can help. It is so special to be able to connect the ‘drive to invent’ to a core Jewish value of tikkun olam… making the world a better place both for your own dear ones as well as for the broader community.

We can expect Lily to continue to invent now that she feels empowered to be able to change the word through inspiration, collaboration and hard work. It is so great that she has received such positive reinforcement and appreciation at her young age. As educators, our power of encouragement can not be over-estimated in its influence to have long-term impact on learners and indeed, to contribute to changing the world.

A few years ago, I challenged one of my classes by asking them to think about what they might want to invent to change the world: Some of the examples that they mentioned included have talking clothes labels for the blind to help them know the color and style of the clothing in their closets, a house that had appliances and environmental controls that respond to voice commands for people that have trouble walking or touching or are visually impaired and would have difficulty setting the thermostat or oven temperature. I remember being “blown away” by the students’ level of awareness and sensitivity in identifying what may be difficult for people with different challenges. I remember being even more “blown away” by the ideas/inventions that kids had for ways to deal with these challenges.

Imagine the power that we all have as educators to cultivate supportive cultures of experimentation that empower our young people to change the world.

geriatrics books