Freshman Learning Community Update

This article was written by Assistant Principal Ann Hadwen

The Freshman Learning Community (FLC) has had a productive and busy year so far.  At the start of the school year the FLC teachers introduced students to a new advisory program based on the characteristic of “Grit” which is perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit, along with six other character traits (zest, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity) are examined, modeled, and practiced every day by students and teachers alike.  Advisories have faced several “Grit” challenges in which they compete with other advisories to demonstrate the characteristic of the month.  In December, all freshman teachers had the opportunity to nominate and recognize students that exemplified one of the seven characteristics.  Twenty-five students received recognition certificates during the first ever Grit awards ceremony.  Teachers and administrators in attendance agreed that it was one of the most fun and uplifting awards events they had ever been a part of.  The Freshman Learning Community at Sanborn was created in part to foster positive relationships among students and teachers and the Grit ceremony was certainly proof that they are succeeding.

Our freshmen also deserve kudos for their impressive showing at this year’s homecoming and winter carnival events.  Homecoming, a longstanding tradition at Sanborn, is typically dominated by the senior class.  However, this year the freshman surprised the competition by winning first place for their homecoming float as well as first place for having the most student participation.    During winter carnival the freshman class came away with two strong second place finishes for their hallway banner and bleacher decoration.  Clearly this class will be one to watch in years to come.

Following the FLC theme of building community, Wellness teachers, Jenn Belcher and Eva Lang teamed-up with our literacy specialist, Kate Burnell to present their interdisciplinary reading project at the 2012 NHAPHERD conference (New Hampshire Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance .  The project encouraged students to expand their knowledge of different health related topics introduced in the young adult book, Street Pharm.  Our school librarian, Pam Harland assisted students with their research and English teachers, Aaron Wiles and Crystal Lavoie supported students with writing the final papers.  Students presented their research findings to their peers and teachers in the high school auditorium.  This project is an example of how team teachers working together create a richer and more relevant learning experience for students.

In additional to their collaborative projects, Mr. Wiles and Ms. Lavoie have been cultivating some young thespians by having all students act out scenes from Romeo and Juliet.  There was laughing, crying, star-crossed love, a family feud, and plenty of sword fighting.  Now that’s how students learn to love Shakespeare!

Social Studies
Global Studies teachers, Mark Giuliucci and Brian Gray, had their classes examine world religion and its influence on world politics.  A focus on Israeli and Palestinian history provided students with the background necessary to understand the current conflict in that region of the world.   As a follow-up, Mr. Gray and Mr. Giuliucci organized a Skype session with an American living abroad in Israel.  Students asked great questions and were amazed at the similarities and differences between American and Israeli culture.

Modern Media
Mark Giuliucci and Brian Gray just reached a major milestone in their Modern Media class; they recently celebrated 5,000 hits on their YouTube channel.  The class is also streaming their broadcasts to students and faculty in the cafeteria. 

Ms. Miller’s Spanish I class is currently wrapping up a unit on food in Spanish-speaking countries. Students have enjoyed acting out “disaster dates” and learning how to be tolerant of foods and mannerisms different than our own.  They can now comfortably order a meal at a restaurant, describe their dislikes and likes, and react respectfully upon hearing, for example, that guinea pig is common street food in Ecuador and Peru! Spanish II is currently starting a unit on "going out" in Spanish-speaking countries.  Students will be discussing topics such as going to the movies, dating, visiting museums and recognizing works of art by well-known Spanish artists.   

Students in Mr. Kent and Ms. Stone’s PASS classes are engaging in accurate and thoughtful reflections regarding their personal goals and learning goals.  They are developing the organizational and prioritizing skills needed to complete assignments and expand their understanding of different topics.

At the end of March, Mr. Jacobs, Mr. Connors and a number of freshmen enrolled in Honors Physical Science will be attending the New England Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) at UNH. The JSHS was established in 1958 "to promote experience in research and experimentation in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at the high school level.” This is a wonderful opportunity for out students and hopefully they will be inspired by the experience.


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