Former Spectrum student Ryan Bernsten wrote a play which was just accepted into the Fringe Festival in NYC. Congrats Ryan, what an honor!
As schools around the state of Illinois and the rest of the country enter standardized testing season, Spectrum Progressive School in Rockford is taking a progressive stance. The school has given students and parents the option of whether to test or not. They can choose to participate in the Iowa Assessments given in many area private schools or take part in what is being called “Genius Week.”
Genius Week evolved from a program started by Google. Google allows its employees to spend 20% of their time to work on any creative project that they want as long as it may eventually become a new Google product. The idea is simple, and it allows people to work on something that interests them. Google’s policy has worked so well that it has been reported that 50% of Google’s products have been created during this time period.
Spectrum Progressive’s goals for students participating in Genius Week are:
Parents and students have had a positive response to being given a choice on standardized testing.
“I love how excited (our student) is about Genius Week, said one parent. “I’ve been torn about whether he needs to do the testing or not. I want to know that he is learning and progressing at an age appropriate level, but I realize those tests are flawed”.
“One thing Spectrum teaches their students is to be independent thinkers. That being said, (our student) wants to and insists on taking the assessment tests,” commented another parent.
Spectrum Progressive School believes every child learns differently and, therefore, not everyone tests well. Thomas Armstrong, Executive Director of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development, recently stated on the organization’s website: “Standardized testing creates stress. Some kids do well with a certain level of stress. Other students fold. So, again, there isn’t a level playing field. Brain research suggests that too much stress is psychologically and physically harmful. And when stress becomes overwhelming, the brain shifts into a “fight or flight” response, where it is impossible to engage in the higher-order thinking processes that are necessary to respond correctly to the standardized test questions.”
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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GIANT TRAVELING MAP OF NORTH AMERICA
IS COMING TO SPECTRUM PROGRESSIVE SCHOOL
Students at Spectrum Progressive School will soon be exploring North America in a big way — with one of the world’s largest maps of the continent. The map, measuring 35 feet by 26 feet, gives student explorers an interactive experience through rich content and exciting activities that make geography fun. It will be at Spectrum from January 11, 2016 to January 22, 2016 as part of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program.
The brightly colored, smooth vinyl surface of the map accurately illustrates North America’s oceans, seas, rivers, mountains, countries and capitals. The map, designed for grades K-8, comes with a trunk full of accessories, including interactive games, geography adventures, atlases and books that teach students about the physical characteristics of the continent as well as its rich history and varied cultures. One of the activities is “A Tale of Twenty Cities,” in which students explore the physical and economic reasons behind the locations of North American cities.
Since Spectrum Progressive focuses on the Multiple Intelligences the National Geographic’s Giant Map offers great opportunities for us to reach learners with various learning styles,” stated Kelly Kerchner,
Middle Elementary Teacher.
“Experiencing a map of this size can really awaken a student to the power of maps and the limitless depth of geography,” said Dan Beaupré, vice president of National Geographic’s Education and Children’s Media group. “Whether they are using the map to learn place names or to compare state-to-state CO2 emissions, students are physically involved in a hands- and feet-on way that makes geography into an event.”
National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program was introduced in 2006 with a map of Africa and has since expanded to include giant maps of North America, Asia, South America, Europe and the Pacific Ocean. In the 2015-2016 school year, hundreds of thousands of students will interact with these maps. In addition to school venues, the maps appear at museums, festivals, fairs and corporate and educational conferences. The maps reinforce National Geographic’s commitment to increasing geography education through teacher professional development, K-12 curriculum, live events and academic competitions like the National Geographic Bee.
National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. It funds hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of its members and donors, it works to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find National Geographic on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest. For more information about resources and experiences for educators to inspire young explorers, visitNatGeoEd.org and find educator updates on Facebook and Twitter (@NatGeoEducation).
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