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Holy Innocents' Middle Schoolers Form a Think Tank

Ten teachers at the Sandy Springs school orgaized day-long Saturday activities to give students opportunities to engage in critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving


Instead of merely sitting in a classroom listening to lectures, the sixth-through-eighth graders are going to take some action this semester with the emergence of the “Middle School Think Tank.”

A team of more than 10 teachers collaborated to organize this group – with day-long Saturday activities planned which will give the students opportunities to engage in critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving – three important skills for 21st Century learners.

“We as teachers should give the kids every change to experiment and play with skills that will be important for them down the road,” one of the facilitators – Gary Klingman – said.

Ideas for the meetings come from the writings of Daniel Pink, Thomas Friedman and Tony Wagner’s, "The Global Achievement Gap."

“We would like the students to realize it is okay to try new approaches to solve problems, work outside their comfort zones and not be afraid to fail,” Klingman added. “The students will have no idea what the theme for the day will be until they arrive on the days of the meetings.”

Middle School Principal Theresa Jespersen introduced the idea at an early semester Parents’ Meeting and stated the first gathering for Think Tank will be Saturday, Sept. 8th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Students will be examining issues facing our country and working in groups to develop approaches to those solutions,” Jespersen said. “It will combine research with creativity, cooperation with expression and coalition with collation. We feel it will be an awesome day.”


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