As part of the peer walk-through initiatives by the the Piedmont Middle Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) Ms. Barone, Ms. Adornato and I walked through sixth grade Tuesday morning. In the space of an hour, just minutes in each class, this is a snippet of what was going on.
From quiet rooms with zen like atmosphere, to rooms buzzing with excitement, from test prep tips to virtual field trips to Florence, from an exercises in expanding one's individual perception inspired by Dead Poet's society to EOG fact reviews If I had to choose a word to describe sixth grade, I'd say "amazeballs" is about right.
For the third year in a row, Piedmont hallways have been taken over by flashmobs, furry critters, and student creations as our sixth graders engaged in a choice-driven genius-hour project called "Love of Learning."
Students had a class period over the quarter to explore a topic of interest to them in greater detail and then to share their new knowledge and skills as well as learn from others at the annual LOL showcase.
I first wrote about the innovative PBL we call "love of learning" last year, but the best way to learn what genius hour is all about it is to watch these videos and hear first-hand:
The gym has transformed into a civil rights museum, with exhibits designed and created entirely by 8th grade history students. Here are a few of the projects
For the second year in a row Piedmont 8th graders have built their own Civil Rights Museum. This year the museum was visited by two distinguished leaders of the civil rights movement, Mr. Harvey Gantt and Rev. Dr. Jesse Douglas. Please read more about their historic visit and advice here, however the students work is the star of this post:
The photos speak for themselves as students did not shy away from topics that are hard, nor did they dumb down or sugar coat the era into a simplified story that makes it all seem easy. Hats off to the 8th grade social studies team for their leadership in the value of a true and deep study of the past.
Today Piedmont hosted two distinguished guests: African-American heros of the civil rights movement Mr. Harvey Gantt and Rev. Dr. Jesse Douglas.
The men were invited to speak by Mr. Reddig, Ms. Benfield and Ms. Hon of the social studies department as part of the 8th grade Civil Rights lesson.
The history displays (you see them in the background and for more detail please click here ) Piedmont students made came to life as the men recounted the difficulties and triumphs of their nonviolent fight for equal rights. Mr. Gantt recounted how became the first African American to integrate Clemson University and Rev. Dr. Douglass spoke of integrating the Georgia state capitol. Students learned of bravery, nonviolence and finding faith in themselves and their futures.
"I look at you and I see the doctors, lawyers, scientists,and athletes you will become" Harvey Gantt, architect of Piedmont, Clemson's first African-American student and Charlotte's first African American Mayor said to the 8th grade.
"I just wasn't afraid of anything" Dr. Douglas answered when students asked him how he found the bravery to lead. "We didn't have any weapons to fight anybody, but love conquers more than hate" Rev. Douglas told the audience as he described his work with SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) where he was often sent to pose as white to expose the hypocrisy of racial segregation. He urged students to create the America guaranteed to them in our founding documents: one truly free for all.
Here are just a few highlights of the event:
Below, Principal Barone shakes hands with the Rev. Dr. Douglas and shares stories of the Gantt family's Piedmont history with Mr. Gantt.
Active Learning in Language and Humanities
Check out the awesome 7th grade team in these 2 new videos:
First is a video of Mrs. Alexander-Brown's classes Whirligig novel projects. After reading the novel as a class, students used their own interests to create something to consolidate what they learned. They had a choice of creating an annotated soundtrack, movie trailer, story re-write or symbolic whirligig. They ended up learning about the novel and about themselves as the participated in this literary maker movement. Pair it with Mr. Milligan's Pigman live court reenactment videos for examples of active student engagement!
Speaking of active student engagement, next is a video of 7th grade social studies World War I reenactment. Students answered review questions for a chance to charge the enemy, but had to watch out for the barbed wire and gas attacks if they wanted to win. As Mr. Egnot and students note in the video, the real lesson is there were no winners!
Celebrating Piedmont : a blog of Happy Happenings
"Celebrating Piedmont" logs only a small fraction of the learning magic the teachers of CMS' Piedmont Middle School, an IB World School. create daily. In that sense, it is authored by all the staff and students of Piedmont. It is curated by Ms. Gurthie who can be reached at the icons above. She'll be happy to brag about Piedmont's teachers and students any chance she gets! Please note this blog has only just begun and we have so much to show off! Come back again soon!