This summer and start to the school year at ROMS and ROHS has been filled with activity to help students develop the skills and understandings they need to be effective citizens. Over the summer, a number of our staff attended our IB academy and learned about ways to design curriculum to make it relevant and meaningful to our students' lives. It was wonderful to witness how teachers were collaborating across disciplines to create enriching experiences for students.
Most of the start to the school year at both schools has centered around approaches to learning (ATL) skills. Approaches to Learning skills are general, transdisciplinary and subject-specific skills that students need to develop to use both in and out of the classroom. These skills are also linked to the MYP Assessment Criterion, which helps in developing a common language surrounding student learning with students, parents, and staff in both schools.
At ROHS on the staff's first day back, they participated in an origami team challenge that simulated the importance of clarity and common language when helping students learn these skills. While everyone had a good laugh at their creations, the conversations surrounding how we can help our students by developing their skills was rich and meaningful.
At ROMS, students worked on many of their ATL skills during Bulldog Bound, such as collaboration, communication, and organization skills during a team-building challenge and stops at different important places of the school. This past week, during Dawg Days, students have all been participating lessons that are common across the three grade levels to work on creating norms regarding different ATL skills as well. They have participated in lessons focusing on their learning styles and what they need to do to best help themselves learn, organization styles and how to prepare for school, collaboration and communication with teachers, peers, and other community members, balancing education and physical health, cyber safety and navigating digital resources in an appropriate manner, etc.
Finally, at both schools, teachers leading academic skills classes redesigned them to focus on specific categories of ATL skills and aligned the curriculum to enable student to be exposed to and develop a wide variety of them over the course of the year.
It's an exciting time of the year - new start, new students, new staff, new endeavors. I have had a wonderful time working with all the amazing students and people in Royal Oak Schools so far and look forward to another great year.
Pictures (from top to bottom): Teachers at ROHS working on folding origami butterflies with different directions; students learning about cyber safety during ROMS Dawg Days; students definition of what the updated LEAP class stands for