Every Intervention Doesn’t Need to be Disruptive, a Huge Course Correction or Financial Burden

A recent article in EdWeek from July 11, 2023, titled, Students Aren’t Rebounding From the Academic Effects of the Pandemic, cites an NWEA report, that found students in grades 3 through 8 “are still making progress at a slower rate than their peers were pre-COVID.”

Karyn Lewis, director for the Center for School and Student Progress at NWEA, sees a misalignment between the “scale of unfinished learning and the dosage of what we’re giving.”  In other words, the intervention tools needed to help kids catch up are not being applied as extensively as they need to be to help kids at least match pre-covid levels.

Her concern is backed up by researchers at the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research who found that, despite the millions districts poured into providing a wide range of interventions—tutoring, small group instruction, extended school days or years, and expanded summer school opportunities—they haven’t been able to “implement these interventions at the scale necessary to move the needle on achievement.”

Two of the biggest hurdles facing most of these interventions:  they require additional time beyond the school day, and they stress already dwindling budgets. What if districts took something teachers are already doing in the classroom as part of their instruction, and adapted it to have a bigger impact? Journaling provides that opportunity—and it’s an inexpensive intervention that’s easy to scale to help close the learning gaps. 

Kids are naturally creative and curious, and through discovery, use what they learn in the classroom and outside of school to understand the world around them. That means they also bring plenty of ideas and interests into the classroom that can be used to help them connect to learning.

The simple act of combining journaling with invention and entrepreneurship provides a very real way for students to personally connect to what they are doing in the classroom and answering the question, “Why are we learning this? While journaling is something teachers can do for free, an invention journal provides an inexpensive tool that reduces the load on teachers by saving precious planning time. The Book of Ideas—a young inventor’s journal from CreositySpace—engages students and inspires them to take ownership in their learning, while providing big SEL and literacy benefits.

Teachers participating in a recent workshop on using invention and entrepreneurship in journaling highlighted multiple additional benefits over standard journaling including:

    • Communication skills by sharing ideas
    • Developing models
    • Finding their voice
    • Creative thinking
    • Lesson extensions
    • Thinking about other’s needs
    • Giving and receiving feedback
    • Listening to other perspectives (different approaches, cultural differences)

The Book of Ideas also gives students a purpose to write during an ELA block. Ask students to think about their community and to write a persuasive essay on a type of business they would start to address a need or issue they think is important. You’ll see even the most reluctant writer fill the page as they see writing as a means to express thoughts and ideas that are important to them.

A new intervention doesn’t need to be splashy or disruptive, a huge course correction or financial burden. It can be as easy as a new spin on something teachers are already doing every day. For a host of ways to include invention and entrepreneurship in the classroom, read the entire series, 3 Ways to Use Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Classroom. Try the Book of Ideas Class Pack and receive a 25% discount code INNOVATE if you order before September 30, 2023.