Spring is here! Well... that groundhog doesn’t agree but the spring semester doesn't care about a groundhog, we care about learning and having a blast doing it! That said, I thought I'd catch you all up on what's going on this semester with our class schedule.
As you probably saw in the video that Headmaster Garner sent out, we have quite the different schedule this year. The students are excited and so are we as we explore new avenues the students are interested in. In two-week intervals we will be changing the classes to a different theme. Here is a rundown of what these first two weeks of classes have been like (This, of course, is the two weeks following the "week of snow!").
Monday / Thursday Theme: "Exploding Stuff"
Bible: This class is the second installment of Leviticus and will address more of the Levitical considerations such as sustainable communities, identification of culture, treatment of immigrants and foreigners, generation of fair and integrous business, increased responsibility of community leaders, festivals and calendars, rest, recreation and health, and debt forgiveness. These words are big now but soon the students will be understand what they mean and why they are important for us as we consider how to live out God’s word in our day-to-day!
Boomology: This STEM class is focused on introducing basics of chemistry. Students had the opportunities to analyze how specific chemicals relate to one another through hands-on experimentation. The students critically thought through their experiments and why certain elements reacted, in order to gain understanding about why the reaction occurred. We also introduced the concepts of pressure and temperature within chemical reactions.
At the end of this two-week course, students were able to use basic units of measurement, perform an experiment by following a set of instructions, and were able to critically think through and respond to why an experiment did or did not work.
History of Fireworks: In this Language Arts course students learned how to track the origins of a cultural phenomenon (fireworks) and note how and why a tradition develops. They practiced organized note-taking with new vocabulary words embedded into their notes. Students also practiced finding the key ideas communicated in research articles and informational videos. The course also touched on geography, reading dates (A.D. and B.C.), and ethical considerations for the use of explosives as compared to Scripture. The main manipulative is the iPad, both for reading articles and for taking notes.
The Boom Chronicles: This Creative Arts course is a tutorial creation class. The students have documented their experiments in Boomology and in this course had the chance to create tutorials in either Keynote and/or iMovie. This process solidified the lesson that they should pay attention to details of different steps within STEM related activities. It also forced them to be able to articulate the process that they had learned well enough that they could teach someone else.
Tuesday / Friday Theme: "Japanese History"
Japanese Script: In this Creative Arts course, students were introduced to the foreign scripts of Japan. They learned that not all countries use the same letters as we do, and that Japan is a country that has different symbols for their sounds.
Throughout their section on Japanese Culture, the students will also learn about the discipline and precision with which the people of Japan apply to their lives, including writing. Students will practice writing their names and a fruit of the spirit in Japanese multiple times, trying to apply the same discipline and precision that the Japanese people do. Practicing script will allow the students to focus on a simple task and allow them to practice their finger dexterity and fine motor skills with a new method of writing.
Japanese Multiplication: This is a math class that uses multiplication in the form of drawing. Students are exposed to ways of doing multiplication that fall outside of strictly writing numbers, it gives them a visual and hands-on way to make sense of the concept of multiplication rather than memorizing facts.
Raijio Taiso: This is Physical Education course that focused on an exercise that is popular in Japanese culture. It is practiced by both young and old and its purpose is to loosen up the body and prepare it for the day. It introduced the students to the Japanese values of unity, focus, and precise form within the discipline of group exercises. Students learned the health benefits, cultural practices, and history of Rajio Taiso. Within every class and activity, emphasis was placed on acting in a unified fashion, striving to perfect every motion through repetition and self-evaluation.
Samurai Honor Code and Haiku: In this Language Arts course, students will be introduced to the History of Japan, specifically the Samurai and the Bushido code (Honor Code) that was developed and which still influences Japanese culture today. Students will also be introduced to the poetry form of Haiku. Then, students will practice writing Haikus about each of the 7 virtues highlighted in the Bushido code as well as evaluate this code based on what they know about the word of God and his expectations on us as his children.
Not only will this class continue to develop each student's global consciousness, but will also develop their linguistic and intrapersonal faculties as they will be challenged to take the information they learn in class, meditate, reflect, and evaluate each virtue and try to capture their thoughts in the very concise form of Haiku poetry. The main manipulative of this class will be the iPad for note-taking and haiku writing.
These first two weeks have been great and the students have been enjoying it. Make sure to keep up with Class DOJO for updates and posts about what the students have been doing. I genuinely am excited about what the students get to experience. If you want someone to learn they need find it interesting and what better way to make it interesting than to let them choose the topic!