Need to Know
- Learners retain more through immersive, sensory learning experiences.
- Today’s students need learning to feel authentic and relevant.
- We must support students in not just academic recovery, but social-emotional recovery to make up for pandemic-related learning loss.
A Closer Look
Educators are looking for ways to re-engage and reconnect with students as they return from remote learning and recover emotionally and academically from pandemic-related learning loss. While the concern for making up academic loss is a valid and important one, teachers are seeing firsthand that schools must equally emphasize students’ mental and emotional wellness. As educators, we must rethink what learning looks like so students are excited and engaged in their work! Here are a few ideas for breathing life back into learning.
Allow Your Inner Ms. Frizzle to Create Memorable Classroom Experiences
While Ms. Frizzle had the benefit of operating the famous Magic School Bus, real-life educators are resourceful, creative, and student-driven enough to create impactful learning experiences that stay with students for a lifetime. For some, that looked like a fourth grade teacher taking students to a nearby beach to analyze sediment samples, or seventh graders performing their campaign commercial for their Civics teacher reflecting the values young people wanted to see in a presidential candidate. What is your Ms. Frizzle moment (who, by the way, was a doctor – who knew)? Find ways to retool traditional assignments so students can demonstrate mastery in a way that makes them feel successful and is authentic to their learning style. Engage the sensory systems to solidify learning—what sights, sounds, smells and movements can you integrate into your lesson? Tap into student interests and talents as you design lessons and assessments. Make learning fun!
While all educators want to create these memorable learning moments, limited time and capacity make them difficult to plan, create and execute. Infini-D Learning missions place educators at the command chair of unforgettable student learning experiences in three easy steps—select a standard, press start and review the post-mission data. Complete with a synchronized light and sound show to fully immerse students into a spaceship, time machine or shrink ray, these missions are sure to leave a lasting impression on your students.
Invest Students Through Real-World Application of Learning
The dreaded “Why are we learning this?” rebuttal haunts even the most skilled teachers. Any educator will tell you they have had at least one “Why are we learning this?” moment while sitting in teacher PD. If we want to invest students in academic content, they must see themselves in it and see how they will use it in their lives. In fact, if our students are to succeed in the future workforce, our educational models must stay current and innovative so students are equipped with 21st century skills. Consider weaving academic standards into a project-based learning unit where students collaboratively tackle a community-facing problem as they apply their learning in authentic ways. Connect problem-solving to computational thinking skills and STEM career opportunities.
Ensure Recovery for the Whole Child
Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy declared a youth mental health crisis in light of the pandemic’s exacerbation of an emerging need for mental health support in the last decade. Our students certainly have learning loss to recover, but it’s likely, and frankly researched, that our students must first feel a sense of belonging and safety before striving for academic progress (or “Maslow before Bloom” as this concept has been coined). Social-emotional learning must be woven across our school day and lessons as much as possible. Educators should consider adopting community meetings or restorative circles to allow additional time for social-emotional development.
Infini-D Learning addresses both the need to reinvest students in learning and the need to support the social and emotional development of our youth. During classwide simulations, students collaborate in a gamified challenge to escape a standard-related emergency. They dynamically move about the classroom, cooperate with different classmates, communicate and employ problem-solving skills. These authentic missions give students valuable practice with soft skills that will support their success in their academic and professional careers.
Learn more about Infini-D Learning and take your students on the learning expedition of a lifetime!