Friday, November 30, 2018

Research is a journey, not a destination- Seabury Visits UW Tacoma's Research Library

Seabury Middle School students are knee deep in their next inquiry based research project, delving deeper into Washington State history, science, culture and more. Study after study has shown that gifted kids learn best not by being lectured at, but by getting their hands dirty, so to speak, and Seabury's Middle School curriculum is doing just that. We combine some traditional classroom time with inquiry-based projects where students can research a topic of interest, to ultimately create an authentic and meaningful project.
Seabury visited the University of Washington, Tacoma's, main research library on Monday, allowing students to get a deeper level of research than they could from the main library or even online. Students were greeted by a Library Science grad student, who spent the morning helping each of them research the University's database, find books on the stacks, and locate the "needle in the haystack" once they found their books.

Students learned some valuable lessons in researching, such as how to navigate a book's index (versus reading every page in search for something useful). Students also discovered that research is a journey, not a destination. Some found the perfect source, just what they needed, on their first try, while others would bring down stacks of books only to find that none were helpful at all.

But, nevertheless, they persisted. And they learned a valuable lesson in patience for the research journey in the process.


Friday, November 2, 2018

Community Service

Community Service is an integral part of using the city of Tacoma as our classroom. The city, its amenities, and the people who live here provide us with so much, we feel it is an important part of our curriculum to teach students the value of volunteerism and encourage them to act on empathy.

Over the past few days students have engaged in service efforts that they have chosen and helped to plan. These included trail clean-up, liter patrol, and plantings at Swan Creek Park, weeding and winter bed clearing at Wright Park, volunteering at the United Methodist Church Food Bank, and the making of 20 toys and 16 blankets for the Humane Society. Past alumnae and alumni from Seabury have mentioned the emphasis on service as a strength of the program, and it having a life-changing affect on them. 

Seabury Team Arrives at Food Bank

Stocking Items for the Food Bank

Wright Park Gazebo

The Fastest Bed Clearing Ever

Celebrating Hard Work

Picking Up Liter Near Swan Creek
Removing Invasives
Learning about Food Forest

Reminding Themselves why they by Looking at Creek

Proud Papas and their Baby Dogwood

Plant Expert

Junk Rescuers

Trash Pulled from the Blackberries (treasure)

Inquiry Project Showcase Presentations

Tuesday morning, there was a lot of energy at Seabury Middle School as the students prepared to deliver their inquire project showcase presentations.

They shared their learning with one another, parents, experts, teachers, and the NWAIS accreditation team.

For the showcase, each group needed to synthesize weeks of learning into a 10(ish) minute presentation. They also needed to speak about their learning journey.

The audience asked questions after each presentation, allowing students to showcase even more of their learning.

One highlight, in particular, was when the arts group was asked why all of the art and music they learned about emerged from Washington. Someone had asked them this same question at their mini showcase during grandparents and special friends day, and they weren’t able to answer it then, but this time around, every member of the group had a distinct answer, and the answers all made sense together.

That same group had a chance to build their gallery and asked visitors to ask their own questions about the art and music they presented.

The cooking and culture group shared culinary delights from a wide variety of cultures. The treats were well-regarded by adults and students alike.

The weather and climate group made it rain on Washington, showing in real-time how the rain shadow works on their terrarium model.

The Beringia and canoeing group shared the various iterations their project took on and several types of canoes that they constructed.

The prehistoric animal group delighted the audience with specific information about prehistoric animals and which modern-day animals evolved from those earlier species. Their “day in the life” stories about each animal bring the prehistoric world to life.