A Stroll Down the Halls at Lexington Elementary School

As you stroll the halls and pass in and out of classrooms, you will notice some very special things about Lexington Elementary School. Students are engaged. Students and writing. Students are plugged into technology. It is an exciting place to be these days. Students here have the opportunity of participating in large scale problem based learning projects each trimester. Teachers here, work together in grade level teams to design and organize the projects to inspire children. Each project culminates in school-wide Museum Walks celebrating their learning and the learning of others. Lexington is a great place to be.

Karen Sapper, Principal
Lexington Elementary School

Emerald STEAM Symposium 2015

What if students were able to become an expert on a specific topic from their studies? What if EVERY student at a school had to be involved. What if every student had to present and exhibit their learning to a live public audience of nearly 1000 visitors? What if all aspects of the event from layout design, to project design, visitor engagement design, etc.? What if 6th through 8th graders were utilizing the principals of Design Thinking to create this school wide event? What if students were able to show off to the public their mastery of a project that emphasizes the 4 C’s of Common Core and the additional 5th C (Character) in one setting?

This is what happened at the EmSTEAM Symposium on March 26, 2015, a day that will be branded in our students, teachers, families and the greater communities hearts and minds.

How did this happen school wide?

First and foremost our teachers at EmSTEAM are approaching teaching differently. We have begun implementing STEAM throughout all curricular areas and are integrating the principles of Design Thinking in our classrooms. Design Thinking empowers students to take ownership and allows them the opportunity to drive their education by engaging them in personally meaningful work. Students are engaged in hands-on projects that promote innovation, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. To prepare for the Symposium our students studied how aspects of STEAM have led to expansion in society and how STEAM innovation fuels change in society throughout history. Our English and History teachers guided students through Design Thinking to learn how to effectively create inventions that meet the needs of the intended user. Teachers assisted students to focus on finding and solving real world problems. This was the game changer for their projects. Students went from the traditional replication of simple models or creating a poster to show what they learned to taking inventions and ideas from the past and applying them to innovations for the future.

The History and English teachers of all three-grade levels held a vertical collaboration wherein they looked at Common Core Standards that addressed common themes across the grade levels. The skills needed to meet the standards were examined on a deeper level and teachers collaborated on ways that those skills would build upon each other each year. The focus was on student generated learning that allowed them to explore areas of interest to them while mastering the standards that needed to be addressed.

What was the process?

Our students spent time engaged in studying different aspects of a civilization (Ancient, Middle Ages, Early U.S.) or an idea from these eras. Students learned to empathize with a particular person or need, define parameters, ideate multiple competing solutions, develop prototypes and then test out their product at the symposium.

Here is what that looks like:

Sonny starts his morning in his English class researching how the Ancient Romans built roads. In history class he begins to ideate ways he can apply Roman knowledge to our current roads that are falling apart. Another student, Delon, who has been in America for only a few months is exploring how to use the coding platform, Scratch, to design a more pleasant sound for our bell system. Dylan, a student that typically struggles with appropriate behavior has decided to write music for travelers to listen to as they walk the path of the Silk Road. He and his group members will perform their music on guitar.


Here is a list of objectives our teachers created during their vertical collaboration sessions:

· Students produce a product that demonstrates their understanding of how innovations of the past have impacted societies across time.
· Students cite text evidence from their research to prove the impact of innovation on society’s growth and change.
· Students recognize the importance of STEAM innovation for the future existence of successful societies.
· Visitors see and hear students articulate aspects of STEAM curriculum and Design Thinking in every project they visit.

· Students provide evidence of their projects’ impact on a changing world.
· Students see how content areas are related and not isolated subject matter.
· Students are responsible for learning material in an area of interest and showcasing that learning in a professional environment.
· Students work with peers to collaborate and produce a product that impact the world.
· Collaborating vertically across grade levels helped teachers identify common themes that could be addressed in depth as the students move from 6-8th.
· Teachers have become facilitators of learning, not lecturers.
· Teachers foster a climate of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. 

· Students cite text evidence in both History and English (varied number of sources at each grade level).
· Students use a variety of media to showcase their work.
· Students have experienced Design Thinking and will be able to apply it to future curriculum.
· Opportunities arise in other curricular areas for students and teachers to incorporate STEAM with Design Thinking into the curriculum.

Long-term goals of project:
· The process creates students who can think critically to find and solve problems they see in their world.
· Students collaborate with peers and learn to work with all different types of people in positive ways.
· Teacher collaboration reaches across curricular areas.
· Students have a “database” of media types that they can call upon to showcase their work.
· The process empowers students to not see flaws in their work as failures, but as opportunities to modify it further to make it better.
· STEAM curriculum is infused into ALL areas of curriculum.
· Students and teachers use Design Thinking in all areas of curriculum.
· Students take ownership of their own learning.
· Teachers personalize learning for each student.

Mr. Bailey | Principal, Emerald STEAM Magnet Middle School | Cajon Valley Union School District | 619.588.3097

Fringe Program for high school students grades 7-12

Emerging Fringe Program
San Diego County Regional Competition
January 5, 2015
RAW Space at The Spreckels Theatre Lyceum Theatre
Lyceum Theatre
Preliminaries: Semifinals: Finals:
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 – 12pm. Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 – 6pm. Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 – 2pm.
The San Diego International Fringe Festival is thrilled to announce its premiere regional competition for performing artists, grades 7-12, to showcase their original works in a professional San Diego theater. Faculty from public and private schools are invited to choose entrants for competition in the San Diego International Fringe Festival’s first annual Emerging Fringe Program.
Prizes Awarded: 1st place – 2nd place – 3rd place –
$250 & School Trophy $150 & School Trophy $100 & School Trophy
All disciplines and genres of the performing arts are welcome to participate in the Emerging Fringe Competition. Teachers from each department may elect one student or a group. All acts entered into the preliminaries must present a piece no longer than 3 minutes. Professional Judges and audience members will vote on their choice of winners. The Final showcase will be the top 7 winners of the Semifinals. In the Finals, each group or soloist must perform the same piece from the Semifinals and in the second act they must perform a new piece under 3 minutes.
Teachers and schools are encouraged to choose students based on the following terms and conditions:
1. Student(s) must have been enrolled in grades 7-12 during the competition year.
2. All pieces must be original works created by the student(s).
3. Student(s) or group would benefit from exposure during San Diego International Fringe Festival.
4. Student(s) or group demonstrate professional work ethic.
5. A group consists of 10 or less performers on stage.
The deadline for submissions is April 15th, 2015. Information must be provided in full or your submission will not be accepted. Please email the Director of Special Events, Liliana Ciurlino at liliana@sdfringe.org with your school or department’s choice for Emerging Artist 2015, with these specifics:
• Primary contact information: Your full name, school name and department.
• Full names of all participating students.
• Title of piece, title of musical selection, and 40 word description of the work to be presented.
There will be no technical rehearsals. Performers have 1 minute to set up and strike sets. Music must be given to stage manager at call time on an IPod, mp3 player, or laptop.
You may submit a second entrant – HOWEVER, space may not be granted (depending on the number of schools participating).
5120-C Baltimore Dr. | La Mesa, CA 91942 | p 619-460-4294 | f 619-460-4544 | www.sdfringe.org
A project of contACT ARTS, a 501c3 non-profit – Tax ID: 30-0189270

“Teacher, please will you do us the honor…” A reflection by Liz Saccone (Lexington)

Due to the manner in which I was invited I couldn’t possibly say no. “Teacher, please will you do us the honor of your presence in our home for a meal. My wife, she is a good cook and we would like to thank you for everything you do for our daughter.”
And so… Today, about an hour after school, I locked up my classroom and walked down the street to their nearby apartment, uncertain of what I had gotten myself into.
Three freshly showered beautiful children greeted me at the door… The oldest, my second grader, effervesced as she proudly showed me their two bedroom apartment. She showed me their books, including the ones I had given her and a couple of old science textbooks that her dad had picked up at the thrift store from which he showed me the vocabulary he was learning that was highlighted in yellow- “weather map” and “space probe”. She showed me where she keeps her school things, and where her brother keeps his. When she showed me her clothes, I had to look twice because there were so few, and yet I thought how darling she looks every day. The house was sparsely furnished, but what they had was clean and neat and meaningful.
I had to hold back tears as I looked at the bounty of food they had made… Just for my visit. Knowing that I was a vegetarian, they had made special dishes. I ate until I couldn’t eat another thing! The father informed me before we started, “You can use a fork, but I cleaned my hands and in Afghanistan this is how we do it!” and he ate with his hands!
We talked of why they left Afghanistan (he had been a translator for the military hospital and was warned that he was at high risk remaining in the country) We spoke of politics and changing borders, and religion (they speak Farsi and are Muslim), the cost of rent, the special dishes they made, and hopes for their family. He lovingly encouraged his wife to speak English and said, “In America they let you make mistakes and no one laughs.”
We moved to the living room and had tea and pastries and nuts and berries… And more talk…
I watched the love that they had for each other and it was tangible.
I left with a full belly and a heart and soul that were overflowing.

Liz Saccone, Teacher
Lexington Elementary