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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Learning Works

Max has chose to spend his past two summers doing educational enrichment at a place called Learning Works. Yes, that's right...Max who isn't a fan of the regular school year, gives up his summer to attend Learning Works.

His day starts by him leaving the house at 6:40 a.m. and he doesn't get home until 4:00 p.m. He has homework and projects that he has to complete outside of the normal school day. And, he does this for 6 weeks, Monday through Friday, during summer vacation. He also goes every other Saturday during the school year, October to April. He hasn't missed a day and the suggestion that he might (going out of town), gets a firm head shake NO. You don't miss, you sign a contract that states you will give it your full commitment and full commitment is what he gives.

Dylan and Cody both made the same choice when they were his age and went back for 2 more years. One year of Leadership and another year as an intern. Max plans on following in their foot steps.

What is SO cool about Learning Works that 200+ students in grades 6 through 8 choose to dedicate this kind of time? Well for starters...the ENERGY. I spent a morning there last year and the energy that hits you in the face when you get off the bus, makes you tingle with excitement. The teachers are there to high 5 you and welcome you. Everything is positive and you don't want to let your peers or teachers down.

They encourage you to bring out your "inner weird" and that it's cool to be smart. They encourage the students to trust each other and have team building exercises each day. They are also put into families..all the colors of the rainbow and as a family you compete against other families in things from academic to fun and you know that anyone in your family HAS your BACK.

The teachers are Seniors in High School to Seniors in College and are mentored by faculty teachers from Blake High School. They teach fun classes like, CSI Minneapolis which was a math class that had a murder mystery twist but at the end of the day, Max had learned 9th grade Algebra as a 7th grader.

At the end of the year, they do a 2 hour presentation of what they've learned. Skits, songs, poems, movies, all are part of the presentation. To see my shy kid up there dancing, singing and acting makes a Mama smile. Here's a few photos from the end of the year.

Yes, he's doing a version of the macarena


RunningmamaNC said...

This sounds like the COOLEST program. Don't you wish "real" school was more like this? Look at the excitement, the commitment. As an American society, we are doing our kids a huge disservice requiring them to "sit down, shut-up, unplug, and become one of the masses". That model of education has passed us by; kids need creativity, movement, excitement, high expectations... I wish more places would follow in Learning Works footsteps. *sigh*

I'm sure Max will make a GREAT intern and teacher!

Christol said...

Max, Dylan and Cody have all said that they wish regular school was like Learning Works because "real" school is a disappointment. I couldn't agree more that it's time to change the focus and try something different because clearly teaching to the test standards ISN'T working:(