Fall 2016: Middle School Explorations This Fall, all Middle School students embarked on 2 ½ day learning experience called Explorations. New to our Middle School, Explorations has - without a doubt- proven to be a great addition to our program. Students chose to participate in one of these 4 courses taught by their core teachers:
- Music that Matters
- Picture Books
- Yoga & Mindfulness
- Culinary Arts
The Explorations were authentic and multi-disciplinary. Students learned historical contexts for songs of protest. They learned how to deconstruct children's literature and how to use mentor texts to define and apply the structural elements of great children's books to creating their own. They applied mathematical and organizational skills to creating budgets and following recipes. They practiced deep personal reflection through their learning about mindfulness. And they even explored the artistic side of cooking from the use of spices to creative food presentation.
The Explorations allowed for student learning to happen within real life contexts. Students learned from professional mindfulness coaches, musicians, songwriters, yoga instructors and authors. Students learned both inside and outside of the classroom: experts visited JDS; some students visited the radio station, KEXP; and others made a trip to the grocery store to plan for their recipes.
Students worked across grade levels learning, creating and collaborating with students whom they don't regularly have the opportunity to work with. Teachers shared with their students a passion of theirs and the connection between students and teachers became stronger. And just as great as anything else, was the excitement the Explorations brought. The students' excitement for their learning was truly palpable.