Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How many costuming students...

...can you fit in a faculty bathroom at my school at once—with a strobe light?

Sounds off-the-wall, doesn’t it? Well, this is the kind of thing you’ll ask yourself at my school during Paideia, the 3-week intercession break between our academic semesters. The term Paideia is Greek and means “from many sources”. It’s an apt name because the faculty, staff and community members all get together to offer an amazing variety of activities for the students to explore during this time, very little of which is formally academic but all of which allow the students to practice learning habits and skills they learn in regular classes. Check out some of these amazing offerings!

—A Make a Difference group introduces students to political and social activism. They volunteer at the local survival center and organize informational meetings on issues of importance, like recycling and conservation.

—A group goes around to local elementary schools to work as mentors with little kids.

—Two shows are in the works, one of which tours during this time, visiting area public schools and nursing homes.

—A number of groups do costuming, scene setup and music related to the shows.

—Several groups do physical activities like winter treks and rock climbing. There’s even a boffing group!

—The Mock Trial team meets during this time, preparing for their usual run to the state finals.

—An graphic artist teaches students how to do flash animation.

—Several music groups get to spend time with faculty to practice and perfect their repertoire

—A research trip to Hawaii. Students and teachers organized and raised money, generated a formal curriculum and arranged for presentations upon their return all on their own.

It’s so great to see all these students so actively engaged in things they find fun, but that still teach them something of lasting value. I wish more schools did this.

By the way, the answer to the riddle at the start of the post, according to what I saw, is 7. I never did figure out exactly what it was they were doing in there, but it must have been important because they were all making notes and chatting about it as they exited, strobe light in hand.

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