Author Archives: David Sutton

About David Sutton

I find my passion for K-12 education comes from my intense interest both in the content we teach and learn, and in how we teach and learn. I would call this content and process. Crucial to our success as educators is our ability to deliver engaging material, both in content and in presentation. For example, engaging a child with a creative physical manipulative in mathematics, or utilizing captivating images in teaching the concept of compare and contrast enhances both teacher delivery and also engagement on the part of the learners themselves. We nurture students’ independence, creativity, and self-confidence as we teach. This promotes risk taking, the confidence to be wrong, and the ability to try again. The ideal environment favors structured and supportive, yet challenging and innovative, learning. How can we take these ideas further? What learning do you bring to the topic? Are you passionate about this topic? What are you passionate about? I welcome feedback on my ideas concerning education. I am always eager to investigate new ideas for creative, groundbreaking work in the field of K-12 education. David Sutton B.Comm, B.B.A., M.B.A., Ms Ed, Advanced Certificate in Gifted Education, Ed.M

posted on April 13, 2017

As we aim to teach students how to solve complex problems through critical thinking and design thinking, we enable them to think as individuals but work collaboratively. This profound skill set truly enhances capacity to reason logically within the framework of an ability to comprehensively understand the challenge.

Our capacity as educators to see thinking is often challenging. One solution is to afford students an opportunity to work with physical manipulatives:

posted on September 1, 2016

In integrating collaborative work in our approach to K-12 education, we are teaching students the benefit of listening, learning from others, coming to consensus on ideas, and other group dynamics. These are all essential skills in group problem solving exercises in school, and in adult project based work. What we should not lose sight of is both valuing the individual as a contributor, and building personal communication skills thereby promoting effective group dialogue and collaboration. It takes a very skilled teacher to nurture the individual as a person of abilities, aptitudes, and evolving capacity while at the same time teaching effective group dynamics. Productive group work is predicated upon individual skills in communication, and group skills in collaboration. We want children to know that their opinions and observations are highly valued, we want them to have the skills to communicate them effectively, and we develop collaborative skills to make project based learning effective.

In early development of these skills, it may well be the case that using physical manipulatives in the classroom facilitates the development of communication skills across curriculum topics. As personal skills in, for example, vocabulary, persuasion, reasoning, and advanced thinking develop, children could use manipulatives to assist them in communicating their ideas with peers. This is evidenced in the example of Kim Haines, 4th grade teacher at Dawson School in Lafayette, CO who used the INTOOBA Construction Kit in developing communication skills in listening, giving directions, providing clarification, and in either being a giver or receiver of information in her math class:


Essentially, teachers can observe individual thinking and development of these essential skills through the use of manipulatives while also noting the child’s functioning within a collaborative setting. Children here are supported in the learning of specific collaborative language through the use of their hands.

posted on May 3, 2016

The Boulder Center for Interactive Learning at Dawson (BCILD) is building models for how schools can fully integrate themselves into their local communities. All sections of society benefit when K-12 schools think of themselves as an integral part of their local community, communities embrace schools, and students understand that their learning has real world relevance.

STEM in school HERE

Photos of student projects HERE