Camas, WA — This is a question and answer session longtime educator, Jamie Holmes, owner of the new learning studio, A Creative Twist, which is located in downtown Camas.
What is A Creative Twist all about?
A Creative Twist is all about Common Sense in education. It is a creative twist in today’s education style. Students need hands-on experiences that focus on the building blocks of mathematics and BASIC FACTS so they can apply them in their lives and make meaning out of today’s jargon. Common Core is full of analytical language that is hard for the common person to understand.
At A Creative Twist we use many techniques, and we focus on basic foundational building blocks in mathematics, i.e., basic facts (add, subtract,multiply, divide)
What we do differently is:
- We listen with our hearts to hear the struggles, we heal with caring opportunities.
- We create success before going on.
- We laugh, we enjoy, we relax into math and learn how to have fun with math.
- We look and listen for ideas that draw you in (perhaps MineCraft, rectangular arrays galore).
- We believe in you and create successful interactions.
- We collaborate and create projects, games, and inquiry that engage BASIC FACTS.
- We have similar style problems with a project or a set of manipulatives so the student can master BASIC FACTS.
- Interactive and engaging projects and games that build BASIC FACTS, so they can feel SUCCESS and apply it on a regular basis.
- Explain with words and pictures, and manipulatives what the problem is asking.
- How to decode the language to set up and understand the problem.
- Draw conclusions, look for patterns, and convey knowledge in a safe collaborative environment.
- We create, design, and have fun utilizing basic facts.
- We use art, design, science, social studies, and writing — all that encompass BASIC FACTS.
- We observe and listen and work with you to assess your learning style and your confidence (no fancy testing, no computerized results).
What age group is your primary focus?
Our target age range is 2nd through middle school. The pandemic has set students up for teaching themselves through the virtual classroom. That is a tall order to ask anyone of any school age. They don’t know to teach themselves, they don’t understand how their brain accesses information with ease. Kids usually label themselves “dumb” when they don’t understand. Once a child has declared they are “dumb” or “can’t learn” because the system failed them, we all sufer and it takes YEARS to recover from that self doubting thought. Your brain starts to look for evidence to validate your self destructive belief. Self doubt is dangerous, especially at a young age.
What is your background as an educator?
I think out of the box, I understand the wounded math warrior, I have taught math for 30 years in Portland, I am “Highly Qualified in Math”, I have a sense of humor and laugh and have fun, I have high expectations that are attainable, I believe in the student’s ability to “Get it”, I get results, I have taught BRIDGES math curriculum and know what they are expecting of students and where the program is weak.
I now work in downtown Camas, an I am open during COVID just like Kumon or Sylvan Learning Centers. Kids like me, but most of all I MAKE A DIFFERENCE in how your child will perceive themselves and learning.
To you, what is Common Core, and why do people react negatively when Common Core is mentioned?
Kids often don’t understand the language of the problem nor do they understand the format of math problems. It just dives deep and dives in too quickly, and continues whether the children understand the concept or not. The kids who “don’t get it” need someone (ME) or some place (HERE) to explain what the system is asking the student to do.
Then the student needs to be exposed to that same style of experiences to grasp the concept so they can master it and apply in different situations. The hardest part of the Common Core Problem Solving is it doesn’t focus on building a strong foundation of successful experiences before going further into the next set of ideas and concepts.. It skims the surface and then plunges deep, and continues whether the children understand the concept or not. That said, students do not have the basic foundation to build their house of mathematics on, a strong foundation is a solid place to grow in any direction.
What is Project Based Learning?
Project Based Learning (PBL)uses a concept/idea that you can apply to a project. This project can take various shapes and forms. Traditional school has replaced this style for standardized instruction.
PBL is an inquiry lead approach wherein students ask questions about ideas or concepts and inquiry leads them to a project. At A Creative Twist we introduce the projects so that students can catch onto the idea of PBL. Sometimes the projects are 3D and sometimes they are field research. The projects that are done here are 3D.
Students may create a replica of the subject they are studying, for instance, they are studying erosion. They can make miniature streams, deltas, rivers, gorges to demonstrate how the erosion takes place. They may make a salt dough map of Washington and have elevation of the Cascade range. This is where science comes alive and students are eager to read, write and learn. The text leads them to their next creative thought and through collaboration ideas of projects are explored. This is the excitement that fuels education.
For the reluctant reader, we read together for information, for the reluctant writer we write for an authentic reason or for a specific audience. It is my dream to have this learning center as a showpiece for the downtown with demonstrations on First Friday or Parent night so the kids can present their ideas to a genuine audience that wants to see them excel in confidence, public speaking, and creativity. We, as a society have to take education in a different direction and apply it in part of our social structure in order to give it contextual meaning. It is up to the leaders, the adults of the communities to encourage these activities through social engagement. Often parents and the community are so busy they invest more face time in the screen of their phone rather than the faces of the children. We need to lead in a different way, they are following our examples. So let the screen be a video of the children showcasing their work outside the traditional confluence of school.
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