“I know it’s interim because of a 10-fold increase in Randolph tweeting….” a Randolph alumna writes on her Twitter account this week—a testament to the great memories created among friends and teachers during Randolph’s traditional week of intensive experiential learning. With another successful week of Interim behind us, we are ever more cognizant of the power of learning beyond the classroom.
From our nation’s capital, where the 8th grade students traveled this week, tweets poured in from students moved by the Martin Luther King memorial, awed in the Hirshhorn Museum, and stirred by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. Their yearlong study of U.S. history comes alive this week, and their rigorous classroom exploration of our country’s Constitution pays off as they realize the impact this document has had in shaping our great nation. There are also the simple discoveries, such as the one which amused the Upper School interns when a student was overheard saying, “Wait, the Declaration of Independence was handwritten?” It prompted the creation of the hashtag #things8thgraderssay.
Closer to home, the 7th grade traveled to Nauvoo, Alabama this week extending their learning of environmental life science. A favorite lesson at the McDowell Environmental Center involves discovering how scientists track the health of small animals in our waterways and use them as indicators for assessing water quality.
Wading in a tributary for stream studies, a group of students had their teacher tweet a picture of an impressively sized crayfish they found. The video which accompanied it later included some terrific squealing… as did the video of Coach Zavada atop the Power Pole, when the students took their turns encouraging one another (and their teachers and interns) on the ropes course.
Interim is about making connections between the ideas investigated in the classroom and the amazing world we live in. It is relational learning at its best, where Upper School students step into new roles as interns on Middle School trips and where teachers collaborate and interact with their students in different ways. It is a great avenue for connecting our K-12 community in an extraordinary learning environment and a fun way of living out our belief in building a community of learners.
Photos by Lauren Layton '14 and Julia Shoemake '17 via Twitter and by Rachel Plucker.