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8th Grade Scholars Lead their Learning

April 04, 2018
By Sally Winter
STRIVE prep students in classroom
April 4, 2018

“The podcast was one of my favorite projects because using your voice is strong way of educating someone else,” said Bianca Popescu, an 8th grader at STRIVE Prep – Green Valley Ranch (GVR). “Knowing my podcast would be somewhere that people could hear it helped me work harder at the verbal part of it because I didn’t want to spread misinformation.”

Helping to create a more just world. Understanding the challenges of today, and their own identities within that context. Persevering in the face of challenges. Students in three 8th-grade classes showcase what’s at the heart of STRIVE Prep’s approach to teaching and learning, all in one innovative project-based learning pilot.

Students in Ashley Martinez-Doublin’s World Studies class at STRIVE Prep – GVR produced podcasts about a topic of their choice, introducing them to a new medium and instilling a sense of independence as well as a responsibility to share information about real-world problems.

“Making the podcast was so interesting to learn and talk about — I felt like a myth buster,” said Shelsi Pedraza, also an 8th grader at STRIVE Prep – GVR.

A great project-based learning assignment successfully guides students through analysis, questioning, discovery, and application to real-world problems, and furthers their love of learning. Another recent project, where students studied their family history and migration story, did all of this while helping scholars develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their peers.

One student’s story illustrates her family’s journey from Romania to the US.

“I thought we would just learn history in this class, but I’ve shared my own thoughts and opinions and where I come from with my classmates. I’ve learned that you might have an idea of who a person is, but you never know until you listen to their story,” said Berekat Disasa, also an 8th grader at STRIVE Prep – GVR.

“When we share our thoughts and history with our classmates, we learn more about them and the places they came from,” Shelsi added. “It helps me understand my classmates better. If you tell people where you’re from you can understand more about how they think.”Engaging our scholars through project-based learning is just one step STRIVE Prep is taking in creating an ideal classroom where all students develop leadership, problem-solving and creativity skills in a space that respects and celebrates their unique identities. There is still more work to do, but our 8th-grade scholars’ experience with a different approach to learning shows that STRIVE Prep is headed down the right path.


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