Flashback: Kensington Woods Pupils Let Their Imagination Sail

Kensington Woods Pupils Let Their Imagination Sail

Livingston Press & Argus
March 27, 2012

Kensington Woods students' sails on display at the Great Lakes Project Exhibition.

Kensington Woods students' sails on display at the Great Lakes Project Exhibition.

On Friday, February 17, Kensington Woods High School Art teacher Jessie Pratt and English/Social Studies teacher, Elizabeth McGuffin traveled to Holland, Michigan to take part in the final exhibition for the Great Lakes Project. With them they took the work of over 50 Kensington Woods High School students, grades 7-12. Kensington Woods took part in the exhibit along with 6 other schools and districts from across the state, including Black River Public School, Cedar Springs Public Schools and Colan Public Schools. 

The Great Lakes Project is the culminating project of a Michigan Department of Education Charter School Dissemination Grant, directed by BIGthink, which Jessie Pratt has been involved in since the fall. The grant was focused on teaching teachers about integrated teaching (using more than one subject area to teach a concept) and its results on whole-brain thinking and learning.

The aim of the Great Lakes Project exhibition was to showcase ITL (Integrated Teaching and Learning) student and teacher learning as a result of BIGthink's instruction which included: whole-brain learning, project based lessons, collaborative teaching, and the importance of meaningful and aesthetic outcomes as a result of lessons that meet or exceed state learning standards.

Elizabeth McGuffin worked with her AP English Class to develop a total of 11 large, 14-foot "sails." The sails were used to visualize student's understanding of a novel as well as how the novel affected their life and personal motivations. Students also developed handouts and wrote papers explaining and analyzing their work and process.

Jessie Pratt brought work from two classes: 7/8 Portfolio and Visual Arts 1. The work from 7/8 Portfolio were large, 3-foot by 3-foot "selfscapes," which are visual pieces that represent aspects of the students' thought process and identity.

Kensington Woods AP English students work on their sails as part of the Great Lakes Project.

Kensington Woods AP English students work on their sails as part of the Great Lakes Project.

Visual Arts 1 developed sails that responded to the question: "What is the reality of your interaction with Michigan?" Students in Visual Arts 1 were studying observational drawing, so students used the opportunity to depict realistic and abstract aspects of their interaction with Michigan to practice their observational skills on large, 14-foot "sails."

Kensington Woods' participation in the ITL Great Lakes Project is only one of many examples of how Kensington Woods incorporates interdisciplinary and project-based learning opportunities into the curriculum to engage students, delve deeper into state standards and address 21st century skills. Teachers regularly incorporate interdisciplinary opportunities into the classroom in addition to Kensington Woods' unique learning opportunities which include Project Term (a year-end 3 week term where students take unique, project-based, experiential electives) and special school-wide projects.

The sails completed by Kensington Woods' AP English and Visual Arts 1 classes during the Great Lakes Project will be on display during Kensington Woods' Bookfair at Barnes & Noble at Green Oak Village Plaza on Friday, March 23 from 6-9pm through Sunday, March 25.

The Bookfair includes a night full of fun and free activities for families beginning at 6 p.m. At 6 p.m., a book signing will be held with young adult authors Aimee Carter and Courtney Allison Moulton. Starting at 7pm, Kensington Woods will host a student Talent Show, with musical and dramatic performances as well as special Senior presentations. Recommended reading lists created by Kensington Woods students will also be on display.

During regular store hours, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from March 23-March 29, shoppers who mention Kensington Woods will have a percentage of their purchase amount (not including gift cards) donated to Kensington Woods Athletic program.