Class of 2019 Embarks on an Epic Learning Journey
In freshman English classes, students tackled Homer’s Odyssey, one of many college-level texts identified as recommended reading by the Common Core State Standards and the International Baccalaureate. When initially reading the Odyssey, some students admitted that it was quite difficult, but they persevered through the challenge and helped each other understand the importance of reading epic poetry from ancient Greece. “I am so excited that I can understand a college level text in my first year of high school,” said James Ramos, a freshman MYP student. As part of the unit, students focused on maintaining a “growth mindset” even when challenged with complex tasks.
After reading excerpts from the Odyssey, students were able to choose an international myth, god, goddess, monster, or creation story to read, analyze, and present to the class as their first high school oral commentary, a required element of Language and Literature courses in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. The freshman MYP students selected a reading or chose a reading from a selection of various myths provided by their teacher. Students identified and analyzed symbols within the myth, made connections to today’s world, and created Google slides, Prezis, or Emaze to enhance their oral commentary.
When students completed all steps of the project, they headed to the Media Center, which has a newly equipped recording studio and a Mac computer lab. Luis Salgado and Milton Tanco, Clemente’s technology experts, set up a custom recording space for the students so they could practice presenting their oral commentary. Within minutes, students received a recording via their CPS Gmail accounts. Students then self-assessed and peer-assessed their oral commentary using criteria from the IB rubric. “I was nervous to get recorded, but it really helped,” said Johanna Pina, a freshman who frequently visits the Media Center after school and during lunch. Students used the videos to practice using academic vocabulary, speaking in a coherent manner, and maintaining proper nonverbal communication while presenting. The results of all of their hard work was demonstrated when it came time for the IB summative oral commentary. Excellent work, IB learners and technology experts!