Spring greetings from the St. Johnsbury School. Currently our school is alive with the song and instrument sounds of our upcoming spring musical, "The Little Mermaid." Students are showing their talents as tech crew members, musicians and leaders. In addition we are showcasing our students' talents as artists, since the Spring Art Show is open for viewing during the musical. What wonderful energy from the visual and performing arts, and what impressive successes from our students! We hope you will join us for the musical and art show, running two nights, Wednesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m.
Our sixth graders used this last bit of winter for a combination art-science project, and part of that project was a snowshoe trek. Students reflected on what they learned about themselves while snowshoeing and what they learned about being in a group. This week's column presents some of their ideas.
So what did students learn about themselves while snowshoeing? One student wrote, "What I learned about myself is that I greatly enjoy seeing the signs that Mother Nature provides us with. The sights that we see are truly beautiful." Another student had a similar reaction, "The outdoors was wonderful and refreshing." Another student simply celebrated, "I can snowshoe. Snowshoeing is really easy after you get the hang of it." On the other hand, another student had found snowshoeing a bit more of a struggle, "I learned I enjoy difficult challenges that require a lot of energy and perseverance, like shoeshoeing." Someone else was grateful for some assistance, writing, "While snowshoeing I learned that even though it may be cold, you can keep moving with extra support from your teachers and friends."
Many students found that they could add snowshoeing to their list of accomplishments. One such reflection was, "I'm good at snowshoeing, and I can go very fast. I can keep up with my friends and have fun." Another was, "I learned that I can snowshoe and that I can help others if I try." Then there was the realization, "I am way out of shape!" One of the students provided this insight. "I learned that I can help others and encourage others as well as myself to try and make a better and happier group of people."
Like many other schools, St. Johnsbury School is considering what educational experiences best prepare students for 21st century living, and the ability to collaborate and work with others is a common theme. The snowshoe trek brought out that quality in students. Other 21st century skills and dispositions include creativity, initiative, digital competence, global awareness, agility and flexibility of thinking, problem solving and effective communication. Our school is committed to being an educational leader in 21st century teaching and learning. Sixth-graders' responses to the question, "What did you learn about being in a group?" indicated further insights about the importance of being able to work with others.
One student wrote, "You are able to get more things done when you are part of a group." Another student noticed that "you can get a lot of encouragement to keep going and work your best." One student was quite direct, "Help someone if they fall or get stuck." Another student decided that she "learned how to communicate better in a group and how to stick together." The social aspect emerged in several students' writing. One wrote, "What I learned about being in a group is that it is much more fun going with your whole class because you have a lot of people to talk to and you learn new things with them." One student simply said, "It's easier to snowshoe when you are talking." Students brought out several qualities, including: "you should be patient;" "have fun and enjoy the time you have together," "people motivated each other." Of course, there were some challenges. One student wrote, "There was a lot of complaining in the beginning, but in the end, there was laughing and smiling." One student summed the experience up with,"I learned that being in a group takes a lot of effort."
Hats off to our sixth graders for their adventure and their wisdom! Hats off to all our students for their individual talents and gifts! To be part of their educational journey is such a privilege. Watch for continuing exciting news about 21st century teaching and learning at the St. Johnsbury School. Enjoy spring!
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