High school students are making their way through their study of Missouri in the 19th century this month. As part of this study, students began to research African-American experiences in Missouri before the Civil War. Students were tasked with locating, annotating, and sharing a minimum of three helpful sources before crafting a research question which will guide them over the next week. Some are looking into the Missouri Compromise, others are examining the Dred Scott decision, and some are learning of Missouri’s unique position during the Civil War. This work will culminate in a formal, argumentative essay on the topic each student has chosen, providing practice of a very useful skill. Today was especially fun, as students began to see the exciting roads their research is taking them down.
High school students finished in-class reading of Ayn Rand’s Anthem this week. During annotation and discussion, many students made connections to Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. Next week, responsibility will shift to student groups to lead a culminating discussion on literary elements (theme, symbolism, character development, etc.) and the greater significance of the novel in today’s world, specifically as it relates to the teenage experience. This activity will challenge students to consider how to prompt classmates to think deeply about a topic while cultivating skills in discussion facilitation: asking open-ended questions, circulating power, managing stasis, and leading participants to the “big idea.”
Middle school Language Arts students are nearing completion of Project Publish, our LAD Fair driven unit on researching, writing, and revising within a chosen genre. At the outset, each student chose his/her category of interest and researched what “publication ready” standards apply to that genre of writing. After analyzing three model texts, students worked all the way through the writing process to create their own pieces. This week, they learned a structured peer review strategy called PQP (praise, question, polish). Groups of four worked together to provide streamlined, constructive, and effective feedback both in writing and verbally. Each student had only one job during each round: praise, question, or polish. The praiser looked for strengths, the questioner asked questions, and the polisher offered constructive criticism. The process taught students to think about peer review as more than an editing process. They focused on higher-order writing concerns like content, organization, and style to help peers improve the quality of their writing. A key element of this work was learning to communicate and respond to criticism. Students learned to take ownership of the feedback they were giving using “I” statements, as opposed to “you” statements. We talked about the power of word choice when offering feedback, for example, how feedback is received differently when framed as an “opportunity” as opposed to a “problem.” I was very impressed with not only the quality of feedback students gave each other, but also with their intentional delivery. The final step in our journey to a final draft is requesting feedback from an adult reader. Parents and guardians, please check in with your student about which adult will be asked to provide that feedback. If it’s you, enjoy reading your student’s writing, and thank you for your support!
Middle school students spent the week diving into a deeper understanding of World War II upon concluding their study of the Great Depression. Each class began its study by combining our shared knowledge of the war on the white board and sharing questions they had. Students communicated a desire to learn about this war from a global perspective, so we are taking our time to walk through the events that led into it and the way different countries were woven in. We are utilizing the many resources available to study this war, and students are hungry for more knowledge! I’m thrilled to see their desire to understand this topic fully. Next week, we will study America’s involvement in the war and what it looked like both abroad and on the home front.
Students in the Stock Market Games elective have been doing real-world research to inform their weekly investments in the stock market simulation. Competing against other schools in the region, both Summit teams are currently in the top half of the rankings. Be sure to ask your students what they’ve learned and encourage them to continue doing research over the long weekend.
High school students got off campus for a while yesterday afternoon. Students enjoyed a lunch at Pappo’s downtown before going to the History Museum to learn more about Springfield history. We were all very impressed with the museum, and students greatly enjoyed participating in the scavenger hunt! Especially interesting was reading the story of a duel on Springfield’s square while being able to look out over the area and see exactly where Tutt and Hickok stood. The museum is complete with a “time machine” that allows visitors to move through significant moments in Springfield history.
I’m working on planning trips for middle school classes, and I’m excited to see what they’ll think of the experience!
Current Sophomores: Applications for Springfield Leadership Academy are now available. Applications are due on March 30, 2020. The link will provide information about the program and important dates to remember.
Students age 15-18: Considering a career in health care?? CoxHealth Medical Explorers Summer registration is open. Please review the above link for more information regarding the program, application process, and important dates. Applications will be accepted until March 28, 2020.
If you have any questions or interested in participating in either of these programs, please visit with or email Mrs. Breckner.