One way we encourage deeper, experiential and authentic learning at ISP is through Stretch Days, where students have the opportunity focus on a particular area of learning unencumbered by the traditional bell schedule. By eliminating the usual rotation of classes, where students move from one subject to the next, stretch days allow for longer periods of flexible time for teachers to organize learning experiences which support students to go deeper and learn by doing, without the usual interruptions.
As I walked through the school today, I encountered middle school language learners in different parts of the school actively engaged in cultural activities connected to their target language. Activities included food preparation, dancing and playing traditional games. Importantly, theses activities were led by parents and outside experts. For example Mandarin students were learning about how to make dumplings while practicing their Mandarin with Chinese speaking parents and Spanish students played games led by our Spanish-speaking parents. Stretch day facilitators included ISP parents from Columbia, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador and China, as well as proprietors from a local restaurant, Alebrijes Cocina Mexicana as well as a Venezuelan dance teacher, Zulay!
The Middle School language stretch day is aligned to our ISP2020 strategy, “Everyone in our community takes active steps to learn with and from each other.” Here are some videos of the stretch day learning activities: