Project-based J-Term learning showcased at BCLUW High School

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND - Pictured are students that got to learn more about animal reproduction techniques during the week of intense project-based learning.

CONRAD — Last week, students and staff members at BCLUW High School in Conrad spent their school days immersed in intense learning activities of 21st Century Learning Skills and College and Career Readiness Standards.

On June 6, the students held a community showcase to highlight the things that they did and what they had learned in the J-Term session.

BCLUW High School Principal Kristyn Kell said that a couple of other schools in the area had done such a program and after discussing it with her staff, planning to do it at BCLUW began during the 2017-18 school year. Project development time centered on what skills could be taught and what the staff felt they wanted to teach.

“This is an awesome opportunity for our kids and staff to be in different learning situations than what they are used to,” Kell said. “My teachers put in so much work to make this week possible – often outside of school time. I am super, super proud of all of them.”

Kell said she had the opportunity to view most all of the groups during the week and knew the students were enjoying the project-based learning which took them away for the daily classroom activity.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Members of the team of students that participated in extreme roof makeover pose for an on-site picture.

Project-based learning is focused on:

1. Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity (the 4 C’s).

2. Real world opportunities for students to learn “beyond the classroom.”

3. Developing deeper learning competencies needed for college, career and civic life.

4. Impactful and meaningful learning for all.

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND - Students in the Food Truck Frenzy group prepare and serve some of the things that they learned through the week for the community showcase on June 6.

5. Student-centered classrooms.

6. 21st Century standards, college and career readiness skills.

The J-Term was based on the following statement: “Schools have been trying to get better at mostly the same old stuff for 50+ years. Maybe it is time to try some new stuff.”

During the four days the following sessions were offered to students.

America through Baseball: The study of baseball history in America from its beginning to the present day.

Outdoor Adventure: Participants learned first aid, hiking cooking and went on a camping trip.

Life Full of Happiness: Students learned about being kind to others and paying things forward and also visited the Animal Rescue League.

Ultimate Health: This group got to experience techniques of ultimate health by playing basketball, and softball, touring the YMCA for swimming and power lifting and going to ISU to tour training facilities and using the rock climbing wall.

Process of Filmmaking: Participants produced a short film from start to finish.

Extreme Roof Makeover: Students in this group learned and carried out the process of roof repair for a family in the district that give a lot to the school. Each participant got to experience every part of the job – from set up to finish, as well as hearing from roofing specialists and representatives of Spahn and Rose.

Conspiracies and Unsolved Mysteries: Students dealt with conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries with the attempt to solve or prove them.

Animal Reproduction: This group toured and got hands-on learning on reproduction and dissection at Hawkeye Community College; learned about selling bulls and seed stock at Mosher Angus Farm; talked genetics at Nelson Farms; and met with Zach Thompson at the Marshall County extension office.

Crusin’ Colleges: Students toured Iowa, Iowa State, Drake, University of Northern Iowa and Des Moines Area community College to discuss pros and cons of the institutions of higher learning for their community presentation.

Food Truck Frenzy: Students learned about food truck recipes and featured their food samples during the community showcase. Vegan and s’mores cupcakes, waffle pops and nachos were included.

Dance Connects Us: Participants learned different types of dances, what their meaning is and how people are connected through dancing.

Movies and Music: Students in this group studied four composers of music used in movie themes such as Batman, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings.

“This was an awesome week for students and staff members alike,” Kell said. “We know that this is going to be an annual event at BCLUW from now on.”