Article share: Why Kids Should Use Their Fingers In Math Class


photo by duncan c

This year, we have been doing a lot of work around both brain research and mathematics at Ridgefield Academy. Adele Dominicus, upper school math teacher, shared a great article with us on the intersection of both and why there’s nothing wrong with counting with your fingers.

Why Kids Should Use Their Fingers In Math ClassThe Atlantic

Calling all Makers!


On May 14, Ridgefield Academy will be hosting it’s first School Maker Faire – and we’d like you to help us showcase a do-it-yourself attitude on campus that day. Whether you make projects for class, robots, Arduino projects, textiles, music, art, rockets, puppets, food, and more, we hope that you’ll show off your stuff at our first Maker Faire!

Students, teachers, parents, and friends of Ridgefield Academy are all invited to fill out the application below and either email it to or leave it in Basil Kolani’s mailbox by April 22. You’ve got a month to come up with your most creative presentation, and we can’t wait to see it!

School Maker Faire – Call for Makers Flyer

RA Community Book Club: World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements

worldpeaceandotherOn Wednesday, March 2, The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning will be hosting a book club discussion on World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements in Hope Hall at 7:30pm.

The author of the book, John Hunter, is a teacher from Virginia, and the book tells of how he used a game that he created – The World Peace Game – to teach students about world problems. Without giving anything away, it will be clear after reading this book that all our learners, even our youngest ones, are capable of some pretty amazing things.

While we are still working out some ideas for online interaction around the book before March 2, you can get a head start and purchase a copy of the book using the following links: AmazonApple iBooks, Google BooksBarnes and Noble. You can also learn more about John Hunter and the World Peace Game by watching the following TED Talk:

RAPA Speaker Series: How To Build Resiliency In Your Child

Earlier this school year, the Ridgefield Academy Parents Association brought  Dr. Frank Bartolomeo from The Southfield Center for Development to speak to the RA community on building resiliency in children.

That talk is presented here in its entirety, and we hope that you’ll join us for next month’s RAPA Speaker Series engagement on games in education, sponsored by CITL, on February 9 at 8:45am in Ridgefield Academy’s Hope Hall.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is how families come together to break bread and share stories while being thankful for everything that they have. This year, during the Thanksgiving holiday, there is an exciting nationwide project that the Ridgefield Academy community might consider participating in – The Great Thanksgiving Listen.

This Thanksgiving weekend, StoryCorps will work with teachers and high school students across the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.

Open to everyone, The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national assignment to engage people of all ages in the act of listening. The pilot project is specially designed for students ages 13 and over and as part of a social studies, history, civics, government, journalism, or political science class, or as an extracurricular activity. All that is needed to participate is a smartphone and the StoryCorps mobile app.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen entails students using the free StoryCorps app (available for iPhone and Android devices) to record an interview with an elder, take a picture together, and with consent of all participants, publish the interview and photo online to the Library of Congress.

While StoryCorps’ focus for this first year of The Great Thanksgiving Listen is high school students, we think that Ridgefield Academy students and their families have a lot to offer, too.

Participating is easy.

  1. Choose someone you love to interview.
  2. Download the StoryCorps app [iTunes or Google Play] and select your questions.
  3. Plan for when and where your interview will take place.
  4. Have a great conversation, and use the app to take a group photo when you’re done.
  5. Upload and use the keywords TheGreatListen2015CT, plus RidgefieldAcademy so that we can try to collect all the stories shared by Ridgefield Academy families.

For more background on StoryCorps, whose founder Dave Isay won the recent TED Prize, watch this TED Talk:

Scenes from the fall Minecraft Enrichment Club

Our last Minecraft video is a good one – a compilation of student videos taken in the world that they “lived” in and helped build over the course of our fall enrichment club.

For those unconvinced about what Minecraft has to offer, take a look at the thought put into what and how students are creating, the interactions between players, and the genuine creativity exhibited. When a player starts in Minecraft, they have to create everything around them, and it’s mind-blowing to think of the work and thought that went into these creations.

Student exploration in Minecraft

One of the reasons that Minecraft is such an engrossing game for the kids that play it is because they are thrown into a world and forced to make meaning from everything around them. Here is one student’s exploration of the world that he helped create.