Eighth grade students in the fall Middle School Decisions class recently participated in a two-week mini-course offered by Global Online Academy (GOA).
"EA GOA site director Dr. Adam Lavallee, Hon. approached me with the offer to share this class with my students," explained experiential learning coach and Middle School health teacher Kim Piersall, Hon. "Considering the title, Grit, Growth, and Gratitude, he thought it would be a good fit with my health program."
The class, part of GOA's Learners For Life series, met six times over two weeks. "Students also had remote access to the class during non-school hours, which is one of the benefits of taking an online course," shared Ms. Piersall. Students were encouraged to plot their own path and then share what they learned with a creative, non-traditional presentation.
"It was cool to have the choice to focus our time based on which part of the course interested us most," said Izzy Rozes '24. Watch Izzy's video here.
"The 8th graders jumped in on day one," said Dr. Lavallee. "The directions and instructions were intentionally a bit vague. The idea that they had control of what they were learning within the course and they had agency over how they were going to demonstrate their understanding was new to them."
"Since we have been learning one way most of our lives, it was neat to discover a new way of learning and a new perspective," observed Jack Crowley '24. Check out Jack's creative comic strip about resilience here.
"Students quickly became engrossed with the course and thinking about how they could share their experience," said Dr. Lavallee.
At the end of the two weeks, students shared what they learned about grit, growth, and gratitude through a variety of presentation media. "The projects ranged from an online Jeopardy game, to digital comic strips, a mock sportscast, to a newspaper editorial," said Ms. Piersall. "The most impressive part was the way that students could manipulate the material and discuss it in a real-life manner."
"I enjoyed being able to work at my own pace," shared Sophia Hu '24.
"The three concepts, Growth, Gratitude, and Grit are a part of each of our lives, and to have the ability to discuss, understand, and interpret them is imperative. I thought the kids did a dynamite job with that," shared Ms. Piersall. "It makes me so proud to know that they are appreciating these tools and working to incorporate them into their lives. This is learning for life!"
In April, 9th graders enrolled in the seminar class will take a GOA Digital Ethics mini-course.
GOA is a consortium of independent schools from around the world that work together to offer a wide range of online courses to EA students, including semester courses and two-week flex courses. EA has been a GOA member school since 2014.