Friday, November 9 marked the end of the first trimester. It seems as if it were just yesterday that we opened our doors to begin the new school year. Time if certainly going by quickly. The end of the first trimester is a significant marker in time. For the past twelve weeks, students have been engaged in a variety of learning opportunities such as exploring the history of our country and the geography of the world,the beauty of the written word, challenges facing all us, applying math to real world problems, using technology to discover and uncover what curiosity brings, learning a foreign language, enjoying the beauty of instrumental and vocal music and participating in activities that help maintain a healthy body and mind. Let’s not forget the clubs and sports programs offered outside the regular school day. That is a lot in twelve weeks and a lot on a daily basis. Our students receive and participate in a very comprehensive and well rounded learning experience.
The role of the student is changing from when many of us were children. Instead of children receiving facts and information then deciding how to sort and retain that information, the goal of education now is to help students learn what to do with the information that is accessible and available. Technology is progressing at such a rate resulting in information available every minute of every day. It is important that students learn essential knowledge from which to build but it is more important that students learn how to solve real problems, apply skills in situations, work collaboratively, communicate effectively, and use technology to compliment learning and productivity. Leading students to construct meaning is a process that should build over time and throughout their life. The world our students will participate in will look different from the world we adults participated in.
Parents are asked to have ongoing conversations with their children that go beyond “What did you learn today.” Instead, the conversations should focus on “How is what you are learning going to impact your future? What are the tools that require you to use essential skills for the years to come?” Questions such as these help students realize that their world in just around the corner and that while many of the jobs that will be necessary in the future haven’t been created yet, there are skills that will support them no matter what they look like.
Like the first trimester, time goes by quickly. Soon, middle school students will be looking high school and college deciding on their next steps. Active discussions now will help make that a positive experience.