This year our state has moved to what is called the Common Core Curriculum in Language Arts and Math. Although you will see and hear many things about this curriculum out in the community, we at Joyner have discovered that many of the instructional strategies align with what we already do with the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate. Many of the strategies call upon the student to be engaged actively in their learning. They are pressed to make connections and build meaning. Teachers also create real-world teaching moments for students.

Our Spanish team of teachers has developed a design this year that aligns all these ideals with their fabulous language instruction. Each grade level has been given a “problem” that they will spend this year learning to solve. The language learning becomes more meaningful to students as they work to solve the “problem”. I sat in a fourth grade class with Ms. Cardona the other day. Students were working closely together analyzing a script in Spanish. They encouraged each other and put their heads down and took the challenge on. I love seeing our students embrace the language learning they are receiving. They are challenged and engaged.

I hope that parents begin to see the difference in their student as they continue to learn to inquire and wonder. Take advantage of moments when the students asks the adult the question. Press the student to analyze and realize for themselves their own thoughts on the subject. Model that inquiry of thought to them. The more we encourage our students to think, the better we prepare them for success not just at Joyner but in life!