Students in middle school have wrapped up their study of World War II and are preparing for an assessment of their learning on the Great Depression and World War II. As part of our preparation, we’re discussing essential study skills and collaborating through students in small groups teaching each other information. Upon completion of the assessment, our classes will move into a study of the Cold War and the 1950s.
High school students are completing their argumentative research papers in the next few classes. They will also continue their learning of the unique nature of the Civil War in Missouri. Our class is inviting in a guest speaker to discuss specifically what the war looked like locally in the Ozarks, which should spark some good discussion.
Seventh grade students are currently studying the geography of Asia. As part of this study, students have chosen countries to learn more about and are preparing travel advertisements (tv ads, magazine ads, and brochures) to showcase reasons to travel to their country of choice. To prepare these advertisements, students have had to consider audience; who am I trying to draw to my country, and what specific things can I highlight to bring them here?
Upper school students are preparing work for their upcoming student-led conferences. Students have the choice of a variety of ways to showcase their learning, and they have had time set aside this week to prepare a presentation for their parents. Teachers are excited for students to have this opportunity to show off the topics about which they are passionate.
Eighth grade students are continuing their efforts to raise money for a trip at the end of the semester. They are currently selling a variety of baked goods to upper school students during the lunch hour and to the whole school at carline. Be sure to stop by and sample some of the treats!
Photojournalism students have been diligently working on the yearbook. Yesterday, we took some time to practice our photography skills. After a student-led lesson on different types of shots and techniques, students took off across the school to complete a shot list. As a class, we discussed the need to take multiple shots and select the best options before choosing which photos to edit and include in the yearbook.
High school English students are practicing formal discussion facilitation and participation this week. Pairs are leading discussion on one of four concepts in Anthem: control, the suppression of natural human tendencies, color symbolism, and language analysis. This experience differs significantly from a traditional presentation in that pairs are tasked with developing and organizing open-ended questions to encourage their peers to discover meaning, as opposed to transferring knowledge about a concept. The prep work required students to conduct literary analysis, record anticipated answers, and consider how to scaffold questions to achieve their desired goals. During the actual discussions, I’ve been so proud of the leaders’ abilities to manage the room, shifting power between contributors, and thinking on their feet. Audience members have been quick to share ideas when classmates are leading and continue to demonstrate essential discussion soft-skills like eye contact, affirmation, and appropriate posture. This experience is truly multi-faceted, challenging students to know the content but to think beyond it. The bar is high, and students are consistently rising to meet it.
Next week, we’ll prepare for a critical comparison between Ayn Rand’s Anthem and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. This week’s discussion will tie directly into shared aspects of the film and novella. I look forward to the connections students make. Parents, if you wish to preview the film, it is available for rent on Amazon Prime.
The Summit Prep high school yogis are growing in their practices every week. Our broad focus this semester has been on core engagement for strength, stability, and safety. Our mindfulness practice began with cultivating intentional movement and has since extended into meditation practice. Some students have even begun home practices using the video resources posted in our Google Classroom. Parents, feel invited to use those too. Pictured are partner and individual poses. Namaste!
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.