The BASIS Independent McLean MATHCOUNTS and JV History Bowl teams are the 2019 Virginia State Champions!
A map, a license plate, a penny, and a yearbook are not unusual things to find at a school, but how about a cloth map, a wooden license plate, a steel penny, and a 1944 yearbook? Those last four are not often found in schools today, but they were in Ms. Floyd’s U.S. History classes. Through the National World War II Museum’s Operation Footlocker, the school received, on loan, an authentic WWII Army footlocker filled with a variety of other genuine items from the 1940s.
Using his passion for history, History Subject Expert Teacher and College Counselor Dr. Hight wants to teach students to appreciate and understand history. He’s preparing his students for college and beyond by giving them, among other skills, the ability to analyze and synthesize information. As a published author, in his elective Narrative Arts, Dr. Hight guides students to produce their own narrative work in the form of their choosing—novel, play, poems, etc.
We sat down with Dr. Hight to learn about teaching and advising high school students, his passion for creative writing, and the surprising nature of history! Read his full bio here.
One of the most common questions we get at information sessions or in conversations with families is: “how is it that you are able to teach advanced material to young students?”
History Teacher (at our sister school, BASIS Independent Brooklyn) Matthew Goldman offers his perspective on discussing how his students master high level learning and critical thinking via access points.
“A big part of teaching is finding how to encourage students to see how their own experiences reflect broader societal trends or historical forces.For instance, when it comes to teaching students about the compromises made at the constitutional convention, things could get pretty bland. But I start out with a story about ordering pizza with a friend. I’m a mushroom guy, he’s a pepperoni man, we get into a fight, we don’t order any pizza. They clearly understand what we failed to do, they understand the nature of the conflict, and thus relate to the forces behind the compromises made at the constitutional convention. I do these exercises at least once in every class. I show my students that they already have access.
Here at BASIS, teachers recognize that students already understand influential forces. The fact that we are all content experts and masters over the subject we are teaching makes it that much easier for us to find these access points, these hooks to excite students. Non-content experts just simply have more difficulty finding these access points and therefore present information to be consumed superficially and not profoundly connected to student’s daily lives.
These access points are the key to showing students that they are ready to handle more challenge. Students often construct imaginary walls between their own experiences and what they learn in school. We are here to break down those walls.”
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! McLean is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.