GREENVILLE, S.C. – A local company created by a teacher to help other teachers in the classroom will be in Boston later this month for the largest education showcase in the world.
Standards in Puzzles will have a display at the prestigious National Education Association Expo June 30 to July 1 in Boston. This annual meeting brings together more than 10,000 educators in one place.
The company has developed a simple and effective way to educate young minds by combining a standards-based education curriculum with jigsaw puzzles that helps make learning fun and engaging.
“We are excited to get the opportunity to showcase Standards in Puzzles on a national stage,” said Jane DiBridge, the company’s founder.
The company was born out of DiBridge’s own work in Greenville classrooms. A former marketing professional, she switched careers in 2009 to education. While teaching sixth grade English Language Arts, she noticed a student who tended to disrupt class changed completely when working on a puzzle. He would ask if he could work on the 250-piece puzzle during free times, and DiBridge noticed he worked quietly, diligently and well with others on the puzzle.
She started to do research about what happened to people’s minds when working on puzzles. Research conducted by the McArthur Foundation indicates that working on jigsaw puzzles helps people to enter a highly focused, almost meditative, state. According to the Mental Health Guide, turning, fitting, and re-assessing where the pieces might go is great practice in making choices. It requires constant checking and re-evaluation of decisions and emphasizes the process as an integral part of learning.
“In my personal experience, some of the most distracted students enjoyed the puzzles the most, stating that it “calmed” them,” she said.
DiBridge began using puzzles in her classroom, as well as building lesson plans around them to help teach things such as history, science and mathematics. The students responded strongly to her efforts that she began wondering how to expand her program.
She spent most of 2016 creating and designing the 12 puzzles that have become the first line of Standards in Puzzles. She launched the business officially this spring, and has a warehouse and offices at the Greenville Trade Park.
“Each jigsaw puzzle is designed to encourage intense study of math, science, social studies, and English language arts,” she said.
While the puzzles are the draw, each one comes with a fine-tuned lesson plan that meets national standards-based curriculum, DiBridge said. For example, a dynamic 513-piece puzzle telling the story of World War I comes with a lesson plan that focuses on the curriculum as well as group activities that engage students working on the puzzle or at other stations.
The company already is working with several schools across South Carolina, and hopes the exposure at NEA will lead to more schools taking part, DiBridge said.
“We see the change in educators from when they first hear the concept to when they actually experience it,” she said. “They go ‘wow’ because they see the possibilities in the classroom.”
About Standards in Puzzles:
Standards in Puzzles has developed a simple and effective way to educate young minds by combining a standards-based education curriculum with jigsaw puzzles that helps make learning fun and engaging.. Learn more at www.standardsinpuzzles.com or on social media at Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest.