You’ve probably heard your 12-14er mention their “Stopping Point”, a social studies project which is coming up next week. This is a multi-faceted project involving research and presentation; a perfect example of the Montessori concept of the Three Period Lesson at the adolescent level
The First Period refers to the teacher giving lessons on a unit of study, and providing information about the background and overarching concepts for that topic. In this case we’ve been studying migrant workers throughout history in the United States. The students have learned through lectures, presentations, videos, discussions, readings, poems, and analysis of cartoons and photographs. We’ve even had a couple special guests this time: Farmer Joe Phillips told us about his family living in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, and Candelario Rodriguez regaled us with stories of his migration to the U.S. from Mexico.
When a student hears or reads about something that really sparks their interest within the First Period, they can choose to do further research on that topic (that’s where “Stopping Point” got it’s name). The Second Period is all about independently learning, and diving deep into their chosen topics. The students are working on this now. This can involve finding resources online and in the library, watching films and videos, viewing art and photos, listening to audio and music, and more. The students also work on a creative project that will showcase what they’ve been learning (maps, game, films, baked goods…), and a written portion consisting of a fact sheet and bibliography.
Finally, in the Third Period of the lesson, the students have the chance to demonstrate their understanding. This happens in the form of presentations to the whole class. During the presentations, the students will practice their oratory skills while showing off their hard work and teaching their classmates specific and in-depth information. In the end, all students will have a greater overall view of this part of history, taught to them through the lenses of many different educators.
You can see your child’s Stopping Point work at home: ask them to practice their presentation for you (practice in front of an attentive audience is key!), take a look at their written work on their chosen topic, or check out the progress they’ve made on their creative project. Stopping Points are always a challenging and exciting project to work on, and I’m looking forward to seeing them all on Tuesday!