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Faculty & Staff “Launch” into Professional Development

Author John Spencer led workshops relating to his books "Launch" and "Empower” during faculty meetings last week. Faculty and staff learned how to use design thinking to develop engaging, student-centered activities to enrich the educational experience of our students.
As part of preparations for the 2018-19 school year, faculty and staff attended a professional development workshop with accomplished author John Spencer after reading his books "Launch" and "Empower" over the summer. Mr. Spencer met separately with ODA Lower School faculty and combined Middle and Upper School faculty to offer targeted approaches to teaching different age groups. Teachers learned how to prepare today’s students for success using inquiry-based design thinking. This innovative approach to learning helps students develop essential skills including creativity, problem-solving, empathy, and grit. 
 
“Mr. Spencer’s ideas on how important it is to ask questions of students so that they are in charge of their own learning was inspiring and affirming,” said Chorus Instructor Ms. Denise Hoff. “We use this design-thinking approach in music classes daily. I like to think we inspire kids through music to learn empathy, respect, integrity, and collaboration.”
 
In interactive sessions, faculty members brainstormed new ways to bring this model of teaching into their respective classrooms. Teachers found the training inspiring and useful as they prepare for the upcoming school year. “While there was inspirational emphasis on the big, life-changing projects that often get air time, we also explored when and how these ideas can be used in smaller, everyday ways and how to apply them across our wide variety of subjects,” said Middle School Latin Teacher Ms. Anya Grady. “I came away with a lot of answers of how to actually DO (or improve) things I’ve always wanted to bring to my classroom.” 
 
The hands-on workshops with Mr. Spencer were well-received by the faculty on both campuses. We look forward to sharing the ways these lessons will be incorporated into classes throughout the year.
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The Out-of-Door Academy

LOWER SCHOOL |  Historic Siesta Key Campus  |  Pre-K – Grade 5
444 Reid Street, Sarasota, FL 34242  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-349-8133

MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOLS
  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
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