Embracing Change To Spur Innovation



If we ever needed validation for bringing STEAM and Design Thinking into our classrooms, we received it last night. We took part in #IMMOOC with George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset and John Spencer and AJ Juliani, who wrote “Launch“. What an amazing hour spent collaborating, sharing and learning with educators across the globe!

Our Aha Moments:

  • Using Design Thinking requires teachers to look at the curriculum in a different way. Many teachers hold fast to the fact that there are standards to teach by saying, “Design Thinking is not part of the curriculum.” And our fearless leader,George Couros, spoke up with words of wisdom…”Worksheets are not in the curriculum either, but we use those!” (LOVE THAT!)
  • It’s all about “reorganizing the way you work the curriculum,” which is why we have found such success tying DT into literature, math and science (all a BIG part of our curriculum). Design Thinking is not “another thing to do, that we don’t have time for” but instead, a way to tie the foundation of our curriculum and creativity into a messy bow of learning and thinking.
  • “Design Thinking is a ‘mental model’ for success,” AJ Juliani. It gives kids a system to follow…guiding steps to solve authentic problems.
  • Just TRY IT! Just do one thing! Be ambitious.

Thank you so much to #IMMOOC for the amazing opportunity to stay challenged and inspired. We look forward to next time!

With that said, we are thrilled to be back to our regularly scheduled program…



“Full STEAM Ahead Friday”…


This week we would like to share one of the first in depth Design Thinking Challenges that we gave our kids. We were given a “curiosity” challenge by Nord Anglia Education entitled:

“What are you curious about?”


Empowering the students to think of something they were curious about (being that it was right around Halloween) Their answer? PUMPKINS! SO we dove right in!

We provided our students background knowledge and then asked this question:

“How can you turn your pumpkin into something that can move?”…no easy question by any means!” So we used circle maps to brainstorm (Ask).


After finding inspiration in a fall edition of Scholastic News, we decided to create pumpkin boats and have pumpkin boat races! This took a lot of researching about sinking and floating, weight and wind. The students ideated (Imagine and Plan) and created their very own pumpkin boats.


Then the day came for the big races(Experiment)! Afterwards the students wrote reflections about the experience:


For a short clip to watch our experience from beginning to end, click here:

Pumpkin Boats!

In closing, we would like to  revisit this question from our #IMMOOC experience:

“How are you embracing change to spur innovation in your own context?”

We seek to create authentic experiences and  we try to be open to lessons that may feel overwhelming to us at first or might not work out…because we have learned that sometimes even the best laid plans do not turn out the way you thought and sometimes when you don’t have a perfect plan, that’s when the magic happens! We don’t know if we are executing Design Thinking, or STEAM perfectly.  The truth is, we believe there isn’t one perfect process.  We do know, however, that what we are doing is producing an amazing outcome!

What we see is children who NEVER stop asking for more experiences. We see children who are becoming resilient and confident problem solvers who are developing a growth mindset through these authentic experiences. This is the way we are spurring innovation in our own way.

As educators, we know that more often than not, children surprise you…with their spark, their creativity, and most of all , their CURIOSITY!


Until next time…stay curious!


Jess and Laura

Teacher wisdom for the day:




3 thoughts on “Embracing Change To Spur Innovation

  1. I also jumped up and did a fist pump to the, “Worksheets aren’t either,” comment. SO much yes! I also thoroughly enjoyed your student examples demonstrating curiosity. They made my heard happy! Keep at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think there must have been a collective fist pump to George’s quick-witted reply about worksheets :)! I have actually used that twice since Monday night’s chat!
    I love how you have your students so engaged in their learning and enjoyed seeing their genuine enthusiasm and support for their peers throughout the races! The reflection that included what the student thinks s/he should do next time to keep his boat from sinking was priceless and shows clearly that your students have been shown – and believe – that “failing forward” is not really failing… just gathering more data to do it better next time! Way to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your insight!
      It’s scary to put yourself out there sometimes- we really appreciate your positive comments! Thank you for taking the time to respond to us! Laura and Jess


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