As PRIED’s first school year comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect on our successes both inside and outside of the classroom. Inside the classroom, PRIED students had tremendous academic growth in all areas. While working at their own pace and level, students were able to gain a deeper understanding of all presented material and push themselves to achieve the highest level of academic excellence in all subjects.
In math, the flipped method made the students more responsible for their own learning and gave them a huge boost in their confidence as it relates to mathematics. In science, students learned about the Earth and its amazing features! They completed a plethora of hands-on experiments and incorporated many of their math skills into their analysis of experimental results. In culture, students stayed up to date with the world around them through the reading and discussion of current events. They also studied many important historical events and people such as European exploration, Native Americans, genocides, and immigration. They read, annotated, and discussed twelve novels that related to the aforementioned topics. Writing was also a huge focus during our school year. PRIED students wrote many essays including persuasive, argument, and narrative. These essays related to topics learned in other subject areas which allowed the students to draw upon background knowledge and other classroom materials to write high quality pieces. Additionally, students engaged in daily blog writing, journal writing, and creative writing.
In addition to the core subjects, PRIED students also participated in art, music, yoga, computer science, and technology. In art, the students designed and built a memorial for victims of the Holocaust. It was a lengthy project that required a variety of critical-thinking skills and teamwork! In music, the students learned solo pieces so that they could start to build a portfolio in the event that they would like to try out for a play or choir in high school. They also learned group pieces and perfected their choral skills through taping and critiquing their performances, creating their own warm-up drills, and practicing outside of their music lessons. Yoga taught the students how to breathe correctly, manage stress, and strengthen their flexibility. Computer science focused on learning the basics of coding and designing and creating a game through coding in Alice. Students learned the important vocabulary and skills used in the world of computer science, and creating the game allowed them to put these things to use in a hands-on way. Technology focused on teaching the students how to successfully navigate the computer and use the applications available to them. Students attended classes at the Apple store and learned how to create beautiful Key Note presentations, flawless movies in I-Movie, useful spreadsheets and graphs in Numbers, and proper papers in Pages.
A unique feature of PRIED is that we are able to bring the curriculum to life through our expeditionary learning trips. Students went on trips to The Franklin Institute, Ashland Nature Center, Chester County Landfill, National Museum of the American Indian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 911 Memorial and Museum, Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, and American Museum of Natural History. Not only did PRIED students learn a great deal on these trips and connect their visits to the classroom curriculum, they also learned how to navigate cities through the use of trains, subways, and taxis. These trips are so valuable and bring a whole new level of learning!
PRIED students also designed an implemented a recycling campaign for the Unless contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Zoo. Through this project, students were able to practice many classroom skills such as reading, writing, creating presentations, public speaking, and data collection and analysis. In addition to classroom skills, students also practiced being good citizens and doing something to help their community and the world. The students were able to collect over 1,600 pounds of clothing and impress the judging committee enough to earn second place in their age group! Community service projects will continue to be a big part of PRIED!
Overall, our first year at PRIED was a huge success! The students grew tremendously as learners, friends, and most importantly, citizens. I am excited to see what next year brings, and even more excited to continue to watch PRIED’s first year students flourish as I teach them again next year!