Think Global School Newsletter -
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APRIL 2010
In This Issue
Motivating with Real Rewards
by Aron Solomon

•  •  •
Why Teenagers Rock!
by Kim Hoedeman
•  •  •
Going Social with Rubrics
by Mike Hourahine
•  •  •
Featured Article
pink ribbon dancer
Think With Your Heart
Nangsal Lama, Residential Don
Being born in Nepal, a conservative society where women are accredited on the criterion of "less talk, more work," my blood is still filled with modesty and shyness. However, my later encounter with what I like to call "girl power" when attending a Canadian boarding school certainly challenged these deeply rooted traits. Over the collection of my experience thus far, I found the solution to overcoming my shyness with others was by looking through the lens of similarities that one shares with another.

The recent TGS Faculty-Orientation in NYC was one of my many opportunities where this lesson came into play. Being the youngest member of the TGS team, my timid nature had to step aside, and it did. Each conversation began with a similarity I found between myself and another faculty member. Whether it was the familiarity shared with the curriculum director, Laura Malbogat, in living and experiencing a polar-opposite culture of our own, or my common interest in phonetics with Marta Guevara, the Spanish teacher, and even something as simple as the pride of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics that Brad Ovenell-Carter, the English Literature teacher, and I share. It is only through similarities are we able to approach others and at the same time learn to cherish the differences.

The kind of similarities that you should look for in others is something that can only be answered by you. My personal hint for you is to think with your heart. The slightest similarity is, no matter what, a similarity.
TGS 2010 - 2011

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Education offers children the chance to expand their horizons and reach their potential.

Too often economic struggles deprive children of this opportunity. TGS has the good fortune of meeting and joining with professionals committed to helping those children without means and resources. We recently met young very talented determined minds at the forefront of change. This newsletter focuses on the brilliance of these young leaders. 

An article by Kim Hoedeman fervently portrays "Why Teenagers Rock," and Aron Solomon discusses what truly keeps these inquisitive minds motivated and engaged.  Reading on, Mike Hourahine sheds light on TGS's commitment to global outreach with an introduction to our open educational resource SPOT, and Nangsal, our residential don, shares her lesson on how to "Think with the Heart."

As always, a sincere thank you for your interest and support. 

Warmest regards,

Joann McPike

Motivating With Real Rewards
by Aron Solomon, CEO & Head of School
As I travelled the world over the past eighteen months speaking to students interested in TGS, I always wondered what motivates them to excel in what they do.

We can get on any number of websites and message boards and find a limitless number of contradictory opinions. "Motivate kids with tangible things like monetary rewards" balances against "Give children only praise and nothing tangible." While every expert has an opinion, too few seem to realize that every child is unique and that they're motivated and driven by very different things in their lives.

We tend to err on the side of creating hyper-scheduled lives for our children, the unintentional result of which is that they're denied time and energy for the fundamental activity of play. We do this with great intentions-we want our children to experience and excel in everything.

Yet the reality is that what motivates kids perhaps more than anything is the opportunity to follow their interests and develop these interests into real passions. 

That's what we'll do at TGS-create an environment where every student not only can do what they already enjoy doing but also find brand-new things in their lives that eventually become "their thing." That's the fun of discovery-about the world and about ourselves.

Truly, creating an environment in which young people can discover is the best "real reward" we can give them.

See you soon on that discovery trail!
Why Teenagers Rock!
by Kim Hoedeman, PR and Business Strategist
Pink Ribbon Dancer
I think it was Einstein who said that education kills curiosity. We can understand why he said it. As an underachiever at school, his genius mind certainly wasn't embraced by the system then. How did we decide to marginalize the minds of young people? How did we come to say no so often to pretty much all they say and do unless it mimics an adult standard of life?

With THINK Global School, we became the proud partner of TEDxTeen, hosted by the We Are Family Foundation. TEDxTeen was able to provide a speaking platform for teenagers with immense spiritual and actual social impact. Mousa Mosawy, an Iraqi teenage victim in a wheelchair with a spice for life I cannot even identify in a Zac Efron, encouraged us--while articulating the points of his survival--to relax, take off our shoes, and to promise him not to lose the passion in our stay with him and his words. Words I will never forget on how to follow passion.  
Kimmi Weeks followed suit with the almighty courage to transition child warriors into productive members of the local community. He said, "You want to help us, provide tools, teach skills--don't dump food from skies. Give us back our dignity." With every teenager coming to stage in an authentic, unrehearsed manner, my eyes opened. These young people with the toughest trials in life found an elevating form to apply themselves with a social impact that counts in any economic term. No one told them what to do; they just did it because it was the right thing to do.

I can only draw back on the importance of THINK Global School's motto: "Don't Teach Us What To Think ... Teach Us How To Think." And I agree. Teenagers are tomorrow's leaders. In fact, many are already today's leaders, and even if we cannot change anything else, maybe we can simply begin to listen more from time to time. Aren't you at least a bit curious? :)
Going Social with Rubrics
Mike Hourahine, CTO


Jungle Hike the discovery trail

For the non-educators amongst our readers: A rubric is a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work or 'what counts.' Above is an example of a simple rubric for problem solving.

When done correctly, rubrics are great tools to help a teacher communicate their expectations and help students set goals and guide their work. The process of developing a rubric ideally becomes a collaborative process.

A recent experiment we did asked the question: What happens if you combine lessons from web 2.0 and social media to the process of developing a rubric? The result? We've built what we call "Social Rubrics". Essentially this tool facilitates the process of building a rubric for teachers (and students) in a much more open and collaborative way. Right now, we've built in the following:
  • Create and share an initial rubric;
  • Make copy and edit an existing rubric in one click;
  • Have multiple editors on a single rubric and record all revisions in a revision history (similar to how a wiki works);Add tags to help organize many rubrics;
  • Comments on existing rubrics;