Of course, during such times one naturally worries about learning being interrupted, especially with the break coming. So I found myself cataloging some of the really cool ways St. John's students have been engaged in deep learning experiences the past week. Before I start my list, I apologize to whomever I leave off, because I know from experience there are even more than I include. As you read the list, notice the variety of experiences, both in an out of the classroom, on campus and far away:
- On Wednesday evening our sixth grade girls won their league championship last night.
- Our sixth graders tested their science chops as detectives at the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
- Eighth graders served as tour guides for their classmates at historic monuments in D.C., later Skyping with first graders. They also placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- Those first graders are redesigning the dollar bill with key symbols of the United States.
- Seventh graders trekked through Brazos Bend State Park while on their way to Galveston for science study.
- Fourth graders have been practicing their Number the Stars monologues for the always-powerful original production based on the book. This comes after creating incredible works of art about the book that are now displayed in the school.
- Fifth graders have been preparing their cases for their witch trials as a wrap-up of their study of The Witches of Blackbird Pond, also tied to their history work.
- Second graders are collaborating on an All About Insects book work and watching the effects of the weather on the tulips they planted several months back, sharing that information with multiple partner schools.
- Pre-k and K students continue to explore whatever catches their fancy while cementing those essential basic skills. Plus they're helping to create our approaching CultureFest event. Three adorable little bits just delivered my personal invitation to "our CultureFest 2015."
- At various times during the weather episodes, our teachers connected with their students and their parents via RenWeb and other tech tools to keep the learning going.
- Meanwhile, like many other schools, we've been celebrating Dr. Seuss week!
As one person here commented, "Interesting to me to think about how all of these individual moments in a single week contribute to the collective experience of being a student today. It's like a web, physically (geographically) stretched this week, but still tightly woven." This also suggests the integrated, holistic approach that we take at St. John's--the modern education that provides young people with what they need right now but with consideration of what they need to thrive in the future. Note, for example, how many of the examples include creativity and collaboration and relevance. And it heartens me to think that all this has been happening during two crazy weeks when the learning could have been derailed. It thrills me to know that I could compile such lists just about any time of the year.