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Students run show in demonstrations of learning




Some CMSD schools held their first "demonstrations of learning" of the school year last week, and at one school the subject – bees -- created a buzz.

At another school, teenagers debated the pros and cons of requiring school uniforms and letting students use their cell phones.

The demonstrations are part of CMSD’s new Vision for Learning, an approach designed to engage students more deeply and give them more voice in their studies.

Students at Anton Grdina PreK-8 School are learning about bees as part of an inquiry-based education project.

“They are creating their experience from the questions they are asking about bees and by doing research,” Principal LaTosha Glass said.

To help with the research, Valerie Harrison, a local beekeeper, came to the school and talked about bees, how she collects honey, and the role bees have in the ecosystem.

"If bees didn’t exist, a major pollinator, then we wouldn’t be able to eat all the fruits and vegetables we currently enjoy,” Harrison said.

On the day of the demonstrations, preschoolers and third graders gave presentations to other students.

Alex, a preschooler, talked about how bees make honey.

“They flap their wings to make the honey thick,” Alex said.

Third graders shared fun and interesting facts about bees.

“There are 20,000 different kinds of bees,” said Angel.



At Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School, it was a case of literally giving students voice, as ninth graders participated in “The Great Debate.”

The topics discussed included: “Should students have cell phones in school?” “Should students wear uniforms?” Students argued on both sides of the questions.

Ninth-grade English teacher, Darlene Burks said she wanted to give the students a chance to verbalize their feelings on these issues.

“The students had some very good critical thinking skills,” said Burks, one of this year's recipients of the Excellence in Teaching award. “I wanted to give them an opportunity to talk about what they wrote in their papers.”

The students enjoyed debating.

“Debating is really cool,” said Griffyn, a ninth grader. “You get to tell your point, and you get to see if others feel the same way.”