March retreat – production of media products

What’s the Story isn’t the “typical” class. It doesn’t operate within the confines of a single classroom. It doesn’t operate with looming deadlines and week to week assignments. Instead, it is a blended learning environment combining freedom and personal work with peer collaboration. Alternating between these two learning environments it is unlike any traditional class available to at the middle and high school level. Peers work together in social action teams over the duration of a school year on a topic all of are passionate about. These topics are the result of weeks of personal research and writing as well as whole class brainstorming about similarities. Over the duration of the year real world learning is gained. Interviews are conducted, phone calls made, submissions to film festivals. Almost every aspect about WTS is starkly different than that in a traditional English or social studies classroom. Every aspect save one. The learning. The learning is real. More so than that, it’s evident. WTS allows the student to look back and see the progress they have made. Not just look back at past quizzes.

My experience in this program has been amazing. As a second year student, I returned so I could better hone skills that we learned before and work on yet another social issue. This course has been one of the most incredible educational journeys I have ever participated in. Working once again with a student from my grade and school as well as two middle school students gives an invaluable insight to how well a group can function. As a learner in my first year of high school I was not in charge of my learning and therefore I didn’t know what I could garner from it if I put in a little bit of effort. Hesitantly I signed up during my freshman year and shortly after school started again in the fall WTS kicked off. Sitting in the Mitchell Green Room on a Friday in September I had no clue the change that my learning was about to experience. From that point, I have taken charge of my learning and become better acquainted with who I am and how I learn best.

I encourage everyone to find a program that works for them. One that allows them to become a better learner while pushing them to new areas. WTS isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer or even need a more structured classroom. Looming deadlines are sometimes the only reason some students do their work. The idea of collaborating with people you don’t know might be overwhelming. For those students, this might not be the best program. If a student in this course was unable to work in this way then it would not be an as incredible experience. The type of student WTS is structured for is a student that can adapt to new environments, can work with others, and wants to further their learning in a new way.

Brennan Bordonaro

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