As a progressive school, one of our founding principles is that children are most engaged in their learning when they do something within which they have a deep organic interest or passion, but the task is simultaneously very challenging.
Learning by doing, and in-depth, with time to plan, fail and reflect, is better learning. Independent projects that integrate other skills in the pre-existing curriculum offer a double benefit. This year, our students from Kindergarten-Grade 8 delved into different passions for their projects.
Our younger students' (Kindergarten-Grade 5) ideas have sprung from common curricular themes, such as two of last trimester's projects on favorite games (K-1-2) and what comprises an ideal school (3-4-5). Younger students tend to sometimes work better in teams or groups and like to make, collect or show their product as they work. Their use of time is more customized and overseen and family can play a role during the process.
Our middle school students' topics or questions often spring from their own interests or passions, but not necessarily without some support. For this group, the project is truly independent and the use of a mentor or support person during this process helps alleviate the pressure and provide scaffolding. In addition, our middle school SIPs can involve research and complex reading and writing. We will be showcasing our 6th-8th Graders' SIPs later in the trimester.
The K-1-2 students have worked very hard on their Student Independent Projects during the winter trimester! Students each chose an animal to study. The culmination of their work included a sharing of their knowledge with teachers and peers in the form of presentations. They were also proud to share their SIPs with the community during a special lunch prior to Spring Break.
Click HERE for a video featuring a sampling of the students' work.