We find ourselves already in week 3 and so much has been happening. Students have been thinking deeply about and connecting with possible projects and ideas that matter to them.
This is always an exciting phase of the project and design cycle when students 'uncover and interpret' what they are thinking, feeling, and noticing in their lives and community. Our VERSO mindsets play a critical role in guiding students to demonstrate different attitudes and thinking behaviors when interacting with the design process. All 4 mindsets can be applied at different phases to serve a different purpose and to achieve the desired goal.
As a team of learning designers, we understand the value of Beyond The Wall (BTW) trips and connecting with experts in different fields. There will be an emphasis on providing students with BTW experiences and sourcing experts to elevate learning outcomes in order for students to demonstrate a high level of competency.
Last Friday the Cohort 5-6 visited five different community organizations: FREC (Ford Resource and Engagement Center), Precious Plastics, Scholars of Sustenance, Love Wildlife, Urban Studies Lab, and Local Community Centre, to learn more about the organizations in Bangkok that are contributing back to society. The Cohort 7-8 learners visited the Duang Prateep Foundation and had conversations with community members who use the foundation to understand the issues they are facing. This trip also helped to spark ideas for their current or future Personal Explore Project so learners have organizations to undertake project work and/or future work experience.
As students are developing their personal driving questions, they also have to think about how their project will be purposeful and the desired impact on people and the planet. For us at VERSO, there is nothing more important than those two things. People (society, community, and humanity) and Planet (environment, conservation, advocacy). This is why getting out in our own community to open minds and connect with people is such a necessary and fundamental step to promoting the mindset of Curious to Explore. If students are interested and care, then they will be inspired and empowered to do something about it and drive the change they want to see in themselves and the world around them.
Below is an excerpt from a C-5-6 student reflection from the BTW trip:
On Friday, my classmates and I went to FREC (Ford Resource and Engagement Center) which is a community center with many NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and social enterprises. We learned many things about sea turtles, food waste, compost and ways to recycle plastic. I personally was most interested in the Precious Plastics part where we got to see how bottle caps can be turned into various items.
I can use this newfound knowledge as inspiration and motivation to not waste food or to remember not to throw away my bottle caps.
By Uni (Grade 6)
Curious to Explore is one of our 4 mindsets that the students are explicitly focusing on at the moment as they develop a driving question. Yes, they are considering the other mindsets too. To help them zoom in, Curious to Explore is the lens they are carefully considering as they explore and select their driving question. The driving question is probably the most important aspect of a student's Explore Project.
The driving question is the vision for what the student wants to accomplish and provides focus and direction to help them create and design a challenging, significant, relevant, and meaningful project that is rigorous.
Each student has been assigned a mentor. A mentor is a Learning Designer from the ML team. An expert is someone who can provide deep knowledge and skills in a specific area related to a project that can be a Learning Designer (on campus) or an outside expert in our community. We will be reaching out to people in our community (with their VERSO mentor) to challenge and inspire students with their project goals and ideas. This approach to learning is incredibly unique as students learn how to collaborate, design, communicate, and build a strong knowledge base and will strengthen Future-Ready Skills in a project that is highly personal to them.
Change and transition are always a constant throughout one's life. Changing school is no different. We have new students joining the ML this year and to help them connect and feel a sense of belonging we put on a pizza party as a way to come together and listen to how they are settling into their new school. Wit and Sapphira are part of our Student Success Team who helped to facilitate this conversation and provide the opportunity for our new students to share with each other. There is nothing more important than building a sense of belonging for our students. We will continue to check in with our new students over the coming weeks so they feel welcomed and that VERSO is a space that excites and empowers them to learn.
The start of the year has been very smooth and the students are settling in well. If you have any questions please email your child's Community Time Learning Designer. We are always here to help. We hope that the ML Muster provides you with a window into what is going on in the ML.
Have an excellent rest of the week!
Chad Walsh and ML Team
Tags: Middle Loop Muster