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Linking and Retrieving: Making Interdisciplinary Connections to Help Learning Stick

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 One of the hallmarks of the Seabury program is that Seabury students study overarching concepts that can be viewed, analyzed, and researched through the lenses of multiple subjects. As we work toward the future the students want and studying how to build that future, it is essential that we study the climate emergency and what is and can be done to mitigate greenhouse gasses and adapt to the changing climate. In order to face this upcoming period of history, the world will need future leaders to have a vast skillset: communication, data analysis, storytelling, logical thinking, historical understanding of policy, mathematical reasoning, and empathy. As the students construct their understanding of the climate situation, we are encouraging them to notice and note when there are interdisciplinary connections. We are also formally asking them to reflect on these connections in our Friday morning meetings. Some of their connections from week 1:   Climate weirding is caused by the excess r

Earth Day Posters

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 This year, we have woven digital design skills throughout many assignments. The students' Earth Day posters, to be hung in businesses in downtown Tacoma, put their digital design skills on display and have helped kick off our unit celebrating the Earth and reconsidering the ways in which humans use the earth.

Dandelions!

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  The middle school students became imaginary home owners. They developed personal policies for managing their own lawns. Then, working as a team with their neighbors, they had to develop block policies for management and mitigation, including penalties for policy violation and regulations about environmental concerns. After developing their personal policies, which ranged from communally growing and distributing dandelions for human consumption to removal from the community for failure to remove dandelions, the students sat in a town hall, developing a city-wide plan. The Take Away. . . Crafting public policy is challenging, and even more so when people have already developed plans and policies and have to be convinced to change their minds. The more people involved in collaborations, the more complicated they can become. Up Next. . . The students will learn about crafting national and international policy related to climate change. Soon, they will participate in a larger scale simula

Showing Our Thinking: Analysis and Synthesis with Hexagonal Thinking

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 This week, the Seabury middle school students completed a final assessment for our study of Refugees where they connected ideas from our short story unit, their memoirs, economics, and the testimonies we heard from modern day and historical refugees.  In groups, students discussed where to place hexagons labeled with characters, people, places, and terms. Individually, they chose connections and explored and explained them in writing. Listening to the students discuss connections, explain their thinking to one another, and deciding how to collaborate revealed the creativity of the students' thought processes.  As ideas took shape, each group formed their own connections.

Using an Economic Lens : Environment

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Middle school students at Seabury produced projects that reflected their learning about the forest and the costs and benefits of using it as a resource. Seabury encourages students to think about concepts deeply and to try and understand complex issues. The people of Washington and indeed the US use Washington forests as an important resource, this use benefits not only logging companies and forest owners, but also students learned how sustainable forestry benefits education, animals, and even the forest itself. The students first engaged in research, they read articles, watched videos, and interviewed a Washington Department of Natural Resources Forester. They then, had to make decisions and think of alternatives for the sale of an imagined timber sale.  Here are some of the results: Timber Podcast Timber Project Infographic

Reflection: An Important Learning Tool and a Record of a Historic Moment

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 When projects and units come to an end, we ask the students to actively reflect on their learning: What were their goals? What progress did they make toward those goals? Let's look back. . . What questions did you have when we started? What progress have we made toward answering them? What new skills have you acquired? How have you grown as a thinker? How have you grown as a communicator and collaborator? What are you proud of? At the end of the semester, we do a more substantial reflection that usually involves finding specific evidence from a student's work to support their answers to questions like those above. Historic Times I recently sent students digital cards with a short video congratulating them on doing something "unprecedented" by finishing a full semester of distance learning. Immediately thereafter, I realized that we have had periods of distance learning before, like during the polio epidemic: Chicago schools, for instance, moved to the radio: "In

Algebra Hanging Mobile Project

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  As seen in art museums and baby nurseries, hanging mobiles have a place in people’s imaginations:  how could a disparate grouping of unequally weighted objects be suspended in such a harmonious and  balanced state, gently turning to the whims of any air currents?  This question can be answered using  algebra.  All the times students are solving for the unknown in an equation, they are also enacting the  steps needed to construct a mobile, for in either case one is performing an act of “balancing”.  Whether  gazing at celestial bodies hanging over an early morning horizon on the ocean (as did the artist  Alexander Calder when he conceived of his new art form-the mobile) or looking at algebraic equations  on a piece of paper, what one is conceiving is equilibrium.  To this end, algebra students in December  created their own Calder-like hanging mobiles, using a “prestrung” hanging mobile kit with alligator clips  to attach objects significant or pleasing to them.   The students aesthet