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TSH Observations - 2020 March 6th

Week Ending March 6th, 2020: From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney

Hello TSH Families!

Since January, our Learners have been working on their 3rd PBL: The TSH Book Project.  Each week the children join one of 6 groups that are then headed up by 2-3 Educators.  We started simple: all great stories have three parts - a beginning, middle and end. We then got more complicated as the weeks went on: the 3-act structure; the inciting incident - from the root “to incite”; character development - what does a character want and how do they change to get it; setting - getting them out of New York and into Paris or Egypt or the dog house; and finally breaking into smaller groups of authors and illustrators.

PBL is at the root of all human growth.  Since the beginning of time, we as humans have been apprentices… we learn by doing.  And in this case, the true wonder and success of what PBL can do in schools has been overwhelming.  We literally cannot stop these Learners from making books.  In Ms. Carissa’s class, they make books at recess and in the morning - in cursive and about science and on reflecting about their friendships.  In Ms. Jade's class their book work has inspired them to talk about research and doing non-fiction work and investigating about topics they knew little about just weeks ago.  Learners will come up to me spontaneously and tell me about a book they are reading and then subsequently let me know who the protagonist and antagonist were and how they inspired or defeated each other.  I have six or seven books waiting in my in-box right now that have incredible stories, themes and moral endings.  And when I work with Ms. Debbie’s class on Mondays we are delving into journalistic book work, how we look for truth (our theme this month) and how reporters should function as tellers of that truth.  

The groups have now chosen one book from each group that they will now work on collectively.  I’ve purposely not been privy to their stories because in two weeks I’ll be editing them.  The school will then vote on just three out of the six and those three will become our school books - for all to work on.  This is a very important part of Project-Based Learning.  Learning to give up one’s own work and collaborate on a collective work, to take notes and implement them - to not be afraid of the editor.  Each group will pitch the whole school at Provocation and those chosen (by ballot) will work with our guest illustrator and prepare for the real pitch in NYC - calling all parents - Random House has agreed to hear our pitch - do you have friends in the industry that will as well?

This project - with 3 year-olds working alongside 12 year-olds - is one of the miracles of education.  We can’t tear our Learners away from this project and yet all the “standards” are being covered - grammar, reading comprehension, writing, character development, science, history, research skills.  Most importantly, all of the vital skills are there in droves as well: collaboration, disappointment, friendship, listening, editing, leadership, kindness and consideration.  

As you may have noticed… a new sweatshirt was in your child’s backpack this week!  These sweatshirts were purchased from the over $3000 the Learners made at their Farm Stand last November.  I wish all of you could have been there to see their faces on Friday.  It is so very important to show children the “full circle” - what their work can create, how it can bring them together.  This Farm Stand project spanned over 6 months culminating in them deciding how to spend their money.  The pride with which the Learners wore these sweatshirts - beyond description here.  They did it.  They made it.  They have the confidence to do more.   Go Blue Jays!

Find Out More: March 6th Parenting Tips & March 6th Family Engagement


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