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Alternative Classroom Environments How does Harmony School in Bloomington, IN fit in the mix?

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Presentation on theme: "Alternative Classroom Environments How does Harmony School in Bloomington, IN fit in the mix?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Alternative Classroom Environments How does Harmony School in Bloomington, IN fit in the mix?

2 Context for my learning environment Harmony is informal –Children are “mini-instructors,” for themselves and other children. –Children are free to roam the hallways and explore the school Harmony is child-centered –Children run the “show” –Teachers play the role of facilitator

3 Demographics of Harmony learners Early Childhood Program –Ages 3-6 –Read books, play games, and learn from the examples of older children –Those ages 5-6 are considered in Kindergarten, and work at their own pace and participate in elective classes –Offered exploration classes for interaction with other students in the school –Parents encouraged to participate with their children

4 Demographics 1 st and 2 nd grade –Just out of Kindergarten and eager to learn –More of an opportunity to make rules in the classroom –Well-rounded, whole child experience Bodyworks Music and story telling Journal writing Math Reading Language Arts –Parent involvement heavily encouraged

5 Demographics 3 rd and 4 th grade –Around the ages of 8/9 –Same well-rounded classes as 1 st and 2 nd grade, with the addition of a couple more Authoring-write what they are interested in Citizenship-talk about social issues and create projects around them Trips Homework

6 Demographics 5 th and 6 th grade –Major transition for children 5th grade is the year where students learn leadership, social, mediation and academic skills that they demonstrate in 6th grade as they prepare for elementary school graduation (Harmony website) Teaching in thematic fashion Kids’ queries-research projects, a kid’s topic chosen by them Exploration/creation-choose own electives or classes to attend in the school Graduation project-5 th /6 th graders work together on topic of their choosing, and are responsible for all work…learning to become responsible adults in a sense

7 Demographics Middle School –Harmony Middle School is a two-year program serving 7th and 8th graders. The program is based upon a set of principles that the students need to understand and support. Without their commitment to these beliefs, our ideal of creating a supportive community cannot be realized. (Harmony website) –Open campus policy for lunch –No letter grades- In order to graduate, students must receive credit from all three middle school teachers in their core subject, credit in social responsibility (indicating that the student was an active member of the Harmony Middle School community who could demonstrate that they are an independent learner), and eighth graders must complete a graduation project (Harmony website) –Advisory groups –Many independent projects

8 Demographics High School –Harmony High School seeks to inspire a love of learning in its students that will help them to become lifelong learners. The academic portion of a student's high school experience is guided by our belief that (1) each student should be working at a pace that is challenging for him or her, and (2) students must prepare themselves, with our help, for the job or academic pursuit that they wish to follow after graduation. (Harmony website) –The High School Program offers one-semester and two-semester "core classes" in Science, Mathematics, English, Social Studies, and foreign language (currently French) –Attendance or daily contact is required. The student, not by the parent, should make this call –Independent study –Can takes classes at IU –Graduation There are three facets to high school graduation. 1. Each student must complete the academic courses which are necessary in order for that student to successfully transition into his or her next academic or career choice. 2. Each student must design and execute a semester-long graduation project. 3. Each student must be voted by a three-quarter majority of the High School staff and students to be a responsible, contributing member of the community with a sense of humor. (Harmony Website)

9 Sample modes for Harmony Visual and audio stimulation Rooms and entire school kinesthetically pleasing to children Students had majority of the control over the classroom, with teachers intervening only when they had to Children were interacting regularly with each other, in and out of the classroom, and minimally with the teacher (usually only to check work and such) Children had great mobility in the classroom, free to go where they pleased, which did not hinder learning

10 What makes Harmony and many alternative schools unique Informal learning styles More freedom for kids in the classroom Teachers playing more of a passive role in the classroom; usually facilitators More of a community feeling Relying heavily on the “whole child” aspect

11 Whole Child aspect? How does Harmony figure in? Whole child aspect means developing a child in many ways, and Harmony School develops the child in all these aspects: –Academically—not the whole focus! –Physically –Socially –Artistically –Spiritually –Morally whole child project website

12 Bibliography of literature 01/0000000b/80/10/f8/c7.pdf 01/0000000b/80/10/f8/c7.pdf 01/0000000b/80/22/a5/1a.pdf 01/0000000b/80/22/a5/1a.pdf 01/0000000b/80/22/ef/60.pdf 01/0000000b/80/22/ef/60.pdf 01/0000000b/80/24/b1/f5.pdf 01/0000000b/80/24/b1/f5.pdf

13 Questions?

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