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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Innovations - Our Theme for December

Dr. George was so excited today. It was actually kind of adorable. He told the children, "I have been waiting ALL MY LIFE for this month's theme!" He continued, "If there is anything that I aspire to, it is to be inventive." He then showed and demonstrated a few things he invented because he saw a problem. For instance, since he was getting hair on the bar of soap at home - which was a problem for his wife - he invented "the soap sock". No more hairy soap! Dr. George wants the children to look for problems and then think of ways to solve the problems. They will be working for the next weeks (or longer) on being problem solvers by way of innovation.

In the classroom, we will take a look at ONE innovator in history. Ben Franklin was someone who was amazingly innovative. As we learn of his inventions and innovations, we will make a big chart listing both the innovation and the date. Then we will transfer this knowledge to a big timeline that will be hung in the hallway or lunch room. If there is time, I'd really like to do some Ben Franklin-type experiments, but December may have other plans for us (it is a REALLY short month with lots of projects going on).

By the way, we've had some interesting conversations about the difference between inventions and innovations. Some children said that innovation meant an invention that lasted a long time into the future. Others said that it was an invention or tool that a lot of people used. These are both correct, but I wanted to extend these definitions to include the fact that innovation can also be a new way of doing something or thinking about something. Athletes can be innovators in the way they train or run or jump a hurdle. Teachers can be innovators in the way they use music or humor in the classroom.

I hope your children are excited about this month's theme, and grow to love old Ben as I do.

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