November 16, 2011

School Update

The next six weeks until Christmas break, ADE High School will be focusing on project-based learning before having break in December and January ("summer" vacation here is from mid-Dec to mid-Feb, even though it's actually winter at that time) and going back to the books next February. This means the students will get to do interesting projects in each of their subject areas along with the book learning. In Spanish class, Mrs.Frances will be having her students do creative writing for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org). In English class Mr. Ben will be having the students do research projects about different English-speaking countries. Mrs.Chelsea will be finishing up her writing/community development/computer project (check out some of their stories http://adecolegio.blogspot.com/) and Mr. Tomas will be working on a community census project to advocate for local health care. Ms. Joceyln will be working on a project that will involve art and helping bring recycling into the community. We will also continue with tutoring for those that will take exams in April.

Lastly, we will be requiring each of our students to do volunteer hours in the community from now on. (One student quickly responded that obligating volunteerism is inherently contradictory!) This is very important as we seek to replicate what we're doing with ADE and strengthen the student's sense of community involvement and service. We're all very excited to be able to do something beyond memorizing facts and figures and being tied to books and curriculum!

Some highlights so far:
Students are working with the community board to complete the census. This is a comment from a student: "We went way in to places that I have not visited before and I was suprised that some homes did not have running water or electricity." Another comment from a student: "The teacher tried to talk to a neighbor about the census but only got to talk to the door as it was being slammed shut. I went with another student to try and talk to the same neighbor and we were invited in for snacks!" Mrs.Chelsea shares another highlight: "We have been working on how we see ourselves as an individual and as a generation. We played a game in which students had to walk up to a line if their answer was 'yes' to a statement or question. The statement was: when I was young, I thought I would go to college. Only one student walked up to the line. The next statement was: I now want to go to college. Everyone except one student came up to the line. Seeing this made my heart sing." Students have also been working hard on their novels- it has been wonderful to see them try to create characters and write so much. We have some students who have written over 6,500 words! Finally, it has been great to see the students actively serve in their community by picking up trash, going to the elementary school to tutor, and helping the elderly.