The students were told to think about a problem in their lives and what the solution to that problem could be. (Ashly Griffin)

The students were told to think about a problem in their lives and what the solution to that problem could be. (Ashly Griffin)

Kelowna teacher brings creative learning to school during difficult time

Teacher Ashly Griffin wanted to take students’ mind off the pandemic

A Kelowna teacher is encouraging her students to think outside the box and forget about their anxieties, even if for just a few days.

Grade 2 teacher Ashly Griffin said over the winter break, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church’s vice-principal wanted to brainstorm for some new activities for when school returned.

Griffin said it’s the school’s tradition to do something new every January, but she wanted it to be creative and fun especially given that COVID-19 has started to take a toll on the students.

“I was looking for ideas when I came across Kid Inventors Day,” she said.

“Apparently, Jan. 17 is National Kid Inventors’ Day, which honours Benjamin Franklin’s birthday and recognizes that he invented the first swim flippers almost 300 years ago.”

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So the idea for Inventors’ Week was born. On Monday, Jan. 18, she said students from kindergarten to Grade 7 learned about different inventors. The next day, the students were encouraged to think about things they’d like to invent.

“They had to think about a problem they have in their everyday lives and find a solution to them.”

“One student said he’s always losing pencils, so now he wants to create a pencil holder that never comes off his desk so he never loses a pencil again,” she said.

On Jan. 20, she said the students recorded presentations of their ideas, which will be judged by the school’s principal and vice-principal and then go on to a final round, where they will present the finished invention, all Dragon’s Den style.

“As for the final prize, that’s yet to be determined. We can’t have a pizza party because the students have to stay in their learning cohorts, but we’re working on it.”

Griffin said the students will build their inventions on Thursday, Jan. 21 and Friday, they’ll have the final round.

She said the feedback from the students has been positive.

“They’ve been so excited this whole week… I think keeping it lighthearted and doing activities like this brings up everyone’s spirits.”

“We wanted them to be excited about school again and to get their mind off of everything that’s going on in the world right now. Kids are resilient but little things like this make them so happy.”

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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