We are officially halfway through School Without Walls. I am co-teaching a course on healthy eating, along with three other teachers and an AMAZING local nonprofit which is helping our kiddos cook actual healthy food. There are 4 days of school left and only one of them is a full day.
Photo: The Opening
Every year for the last two years, we’ve taken the kiddos on a field trip to Land’s End. Everyone brings (or tries to bring) food (someone’s mom woke up at 5am to make fruit salad, which was amazing), we do a picnic and then we do a bit of hiking. Our school is in the warmer part of the city, so I give my sweatshirts to a bunch of kiddos, watch them wear them and rotate them and eventually get them back, smelling of various teenage scents.
That being said, even four adults among 50 students is not quite enough. I don’t have any pictures from the actual field trip, I just have this photo of our opening, where students describe the food they brought and talk about something that surprised them about the course. It’s refreshing to hear so many students talk about the five food groups from MyPlate.
It is less refreshing to see the kiddos leave the following junk food in my room (consider this a failed formative assessment):
That being said, you can probably guess what I snacked on all weekend…
Related but unrelated: contrary to popular opinion, the best way to start your 3-day weekend is not leaving your computer power cord at school.
Believe it or don’t, portfolios are over. Two weeks left, during which I’ll be co-teaching an elective class on healthy cooking and eating.
Photo: The One With the Cold PupusasPortfolios means, among other things, having the same group of (generally awesome) advisees in the same room for the whole day. We let them listen to music, we let them eat (if they bring food).
One group of advisees has twice signed up to bring food the last day and has twice brought pupusas, a Salvadoreña food that the kiddos seem to enjoy. Alas, snack break always seems to happen in the eye of the storm. Once again, I am left with a cold pupusa to eat at the end of the day. (They’re still just as good)
Incidentally, I’m hoping this photo will shame me into cleaning my desk.
Two to Go
As I mentioned, I spend the last two weeks of school co-teaching an elective course on healthy eating. Our kiddos often come missing several credits (especially electives, such as art and PE), so we have a 2 week credit recovery elective class at the end of the year. We call it School Without Walls, other schools call it “intersession electives” and many of our Spanish speakers simply call it “paseos” (vacations). The idea is to do some hands-on learning and explore the city. I guess I’ll take “vacations”.
We who are about to School Without Walls salute you.
(Full confession: I mostly wrote this post so I could add that tag. #IRegretNothing)
Content is over. Portfolios are here.
Because our kiddos are all English Language Learners, our summative assessments look a little different. Content ends two weeks early and the kiddos spend the majority of their day with their advisor, writing and reflecting on what they’ve learned during the semester.
Photo 1: Target Notes and Post-itsTo help the kiddos organize their thinking, we have them complete a graphic organized called a target note (because it’s shaped like a target). They fill out their thesis, make 3 claims and support those claims with evidence and analysis. (Some of our awesome teachers revamped them this year so that the format is easier to follow and has the kiddos talk more about what they’ve learned and the projects they’ve done).
One kiddo had another teacher proofread their target notes after school. The teacher had some great ideas and rather than having the kiddo write them into the target notes, had them write their revisions on post-its.
I find that some kiddos are resistant to revising their writing since it means “more work”. The post-it note reduces some of that “work” and also helps them see the changes they’ve made. (I suspect most kiddos aren’t used to doing multiple drafts or the idea of reading something to make it better).
Photo 2: The Zombie Apocalypse
Our amazing biology teachers did a unit on eco-systems which prominently features the zombie apocalypse. During portfolios, we ask our students to provide evidence and analysis as part of their essays about what they learned. One of the kiddos did a decent job providing evidence from what they learned…and then justified it using their ability to survive the zombie apocalypse. I tried to figure out if this was a content issue or a language issue, but when I mentioned it to the student, they groaned and rolled their eyes, so…