Creative Classrooms

WORLD LANGUAGES

Assignment: Find the way to a specific term that you cannot pull up. For a beginning student, it may be telling the waiter she needs something to eat her soup with (to come up with “spoon”). To get to “constituent,” an intermediate or advanced student may need to engage in deeper conversations about expressing an opinion and political representatives. It’s all about flexibility in expression.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Assignment: To teach how a bill becomes a law, the Honors Government and Law class runs a Mock Congress, with students serving as representatives or senators and go to their constituents (all 6-12 classes) listening for and promoting legislation concerning actual school rules to be signed into law (or vetoed) by the Head of School serving as the Executive Branch. This year they actually got a law passed to allow students a new privilege, with restrictions.

Active Learning: The Model Organization of American States (MOAS) gives students the opportunity to become a diplomat in the annual convocation at the DC headquarters of the real OAS. After thoroughly researching their assigned country, they present and debate resolutions on a current issue on the Inter-American agenda, and vote to approve during a rousing simulation exercise with students from across the country.

HUMANITIES

Assignments: Create an altered book, visually representing themes from class that break the rules and show individualism, as much as art has. Create a crankie, a visual representation of the storytelling tradition. Both require breaking down stories and distilling key parts and delivering them in other mediums, such as a paper movie.

SCIENCE

Assignment: Design a unique experiment with sugar and salt to explore the structure of matter. Without expecting to be told specifically what to do, students designed a way to try out their ideas. The result: they exhibited curiosity and pondered observations, collaborated and worked cooperatively with their peers. Moreover, they demonstrated a willingness to modify their ideas and take risks. This skill is critical, according to science chair Kelly Tomon, relating to “solving scientific problems in the real world, rather than following scripted procedures and getting expected results.”

MATHEMATICS

Assignment: Render tessellations, describe what these are, in a colorful grid on tiles, which will adorn the ceilings of the school.