11 months ago

2019 Spring/Summer Highlights of Hope


EDUCATION VAN ANDEL EDUCATION INSTITUTE’S BLUE APPLE — A FRESH APPROACH TO SCIENCE EDUCATION The landscape of education is always changing. As humanity progresses, our pace is measured by the uncomfortable truth that what we know today could change dramatically tomorrow. For K–12 teachers, this presents a significant challenge as they navigate between traditional knowledge and new discoveries. How do educators keep up in a field that is now shifting faster than ever? And how do they maintain relevance in a culture over-saturated with information? The answer? They can’t. At least, not by repeating the same methods as their predecessors. Today’s schools are largely relying on Industrial Age teaching models for students who are entering a society built on information. Complicating matters even further is the existence of smartphones, tablets and laptops that teach children to lean on devices rather than solving complex problems on their own. If educators hope to remain central to the learning process, they need to do more than simply develop a few stopgap measures to address these new challenges. To embrace the future of learning in the modern age, educators will need to take a new, fresh approach to how they work with students. Creating classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive There is no denying that technology has radically altered the way we grow and develop, particularly within the halls of education. “Teachers are no longer the ones who should be disseminating information. Google can do that far better,” explained Terra Tarango, director of Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI). “Instead, teachers need to facilitate authentic learning experiences where children have a chance to discover learning for themselves and make a difference in their world.” How does an educator shift from traditional standards and practices to an entirely new method of teaching? For VAEI, it begins by designing instructional experiences and learning environments where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive. And according to Tarango, VAEI’s Blue Apple program is a great place to start. Van Andel Education Institute Honors Teachers During Science on the Grand 2019 Teaching is one of the most rewarding, yet demanding jobs in the world — it is also one of the most important. On July 15–16, 2019, Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) will celebrate the art of teaching at the second annual Science on the Grand conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This unique, teacher-focused conference was designed by education experts and teachers to provide research-based and classroom-tested content that supports the needs of teachers, whether that be classroom expectations, content standards, or personal and professional development. During the conference teachers will: • Learn how to establish a classroom culture to support STEAM instruction (science, technology, engineering, art and math). • Explore standards-aligned lessons by grade level with STEAM integration. • Network with like-minded educators teaching the same grade and interest area. • Nurture your own curiosity and personal growth. • Have a chance to win up to ,000 to supercharge your classroom! Registration includes: • Two days of inspiration, exploration and practical takeaways. • Opportunities to network with like-minded teachers. • Breakfast, lunch and dinner! Bring a friend and share the experience! Plus, principals can attend FREE!* Register at! * With the paid registration of a staff member, a principal from the same school may attend for FREE. 14 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

Synthesizing the most powerful ideas in education Blue Apple, VAEI's most recent initiative, is a collection of comprehensive, project-based learning experiences that inspire children to solve real-world problems through critical thinking. Built on the philosophy that content instruction is best linked to an authentic experience, each Blue Apple project highlights a different subject matter while incorporating science, language arts, math, social studies and social–emotional growth into each project. For example, using the Food for Thought project, students learn the value of healthy eating while graphing nutrients and writing recipes; 50 Years of Interest introduces children to the concept of investing, helps them understand the impact of compound interest by making a 50-year investment in a charity; and State of Sustainability has classrooms discuss the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and apply them to local communities. The goal is to get students to aim high and achieve even higher. In the words of Ben Talsma, one of VAEI’s learning solution specialists, “Blue Apple is a beautiful synthesis of some of the most powerful ideas in education. It’s cross-curricular. It’s hands-on. It’s inquiry-based. And best of all, it gets students, teachers and communities working together to make the world a better place.” For the teacher who wants to transform the classroom Blue Apple wasn’t just created to provide students with exciting, inquiry-based learning opportunities; it was also designed to empower teachers as well. VAEI searched for inspirational teachers doing engaging projects and selected 10 of them to partner with, turning their ideas into published Blue Apple projects. The originating teacher-authors provide tips and tricks, videos and pictures that help other teachers implement the STUDENTS WORKING ON A BLUE APPLE PROJECT. projects in their classrooms. Blue Apple projects include a variety of online resources and physical supplies that come packaged and shipped to the teacher directly, including games, links to online sources, and even real-world connections that classrooms can call upon for additional authentic expert encounters. By giving classrooms the necessary tools for discovery, educators can guide their students toward the knowledge they need, rather than simply handing them the answer, and they can do so while engaging students in making the world a better place. This doesn’t just transform the way students think about learning — it also changes the way our society thinks about teaching. You can get involved! The Institute will bring Blue Apple to classrooms across the U.S. in 2019, igniting curiosity in students and teachers alike — taking the first step toward meaningful change in how we approach education. Blue Apple will launch a pilot program beginning in April and May, with the final product being available for purchase for the 2019–2020 school year. To learn more or share this information with a teacher, please visit us at Register Your Second Through 12th-grade Student for Summer is a time for fun with friends, exploring interests and discovering new worlds! Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) is offering a unique summer camp experience for second through 12th-graders. Students will learn to think and act like scientists in hands-on and interactive investigations while building their curiosity, creativity and critical thinking skills! Van Andel Education Institute’s Summer Camps! All summer camp programs take place June–July 2019. Cost for each camp is per-student for one week of camp. All camps take place during weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. To learn more about VAEI’s summer camps or to register, visit VAEI’s summer camps are made possible because of support from the Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation. Their generosity has enabled VAEI to provide an inspiring, high-quality educational experience for students from a variety of backgrounds from communities across West Michigan. Register at! VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 15

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