Posts about Teaching Methods

April 6, 2016

Teaching Via "Access Points"

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.Matthew_Goldman_-_PhotoFor 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.”

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April 6, 2016

An Experiment in Learning: 7th Graders Teach Kindergarteners

Teachers who are quick to recognize new learning opportunities and adapt lessons to meet the needs of a dynamic classroom make for the most memorable educators. Such opportunities are just one of the many reasons that our classrooms are more dynamic, more accelerated, more engaging, and lead our program to produce the greatest minds of the future. This story of teacher ingenuity in the classroom comes to us from our sister campus, BASIS Independent Brooklyn:

Demonstrating Mastery…The BASIS Independent Way

McLaughlinHahnThe middle school science curriculum at BASIS Independent Brooklyn is expansive, breaking down the sciences into the core disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology, each taken 3 times per week throughout the year.  In biology, students just wrapped up a unit on functions and parts of cells, a fairly complex topic. Dr. Angela Hahn, Subject Expert Teacher for 6th, 7th and 8th grade biology and chemistry, works daily to break down complex subjects not typically seen until high school in American schools (or even college) to make them comprehensible to the 12 year old mind, finding key access points along the way to connect with students. 

Dr. Hahn is, as all BASIS Independent teachers are, a firm believer that if a student really ‘knows’ something and they can teach it to someone else, in their own words, then they have mastered it.  This simple concept is the genesis of what came to be an experiment in what it means to be a student – and a teacher – for our 7th graders.

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November 12, 2015

An Experiment in Learning: 7th Graders Teach Kindergarteners

Demonstrating Mastery…The BASIS Independent Way

McLaughlinHahnThe middle school science curriculum at BASIS Independent is expansive, breaking down the sciences into the core disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology, each taken three times per week throughout the year. The following post demonstrates just one of the many creative ways in which BASIS Independent teachers guide students toward subject mastery.Additionally, teachers and students alike find joy in the spontaneity of finding new ways to collaborate with each other...and perhaps start new school traditions.

In biology, students just wrapped up a unit on functions and parts of cells, a fairly complex topic. Dr. Angela Hahn, Subject Expert Teacher for 6th, 7th and 8th grade biology and chemistry at our sister school in Brooklyn, works daily to break down complex subjects not typically seen until high school in American schools (or even college) to make them comprehensible to the 12 year old mind. 

Dr. Hahn is, as all BASIS Independent teachers are, a firm believer that if a student really ‘knows’ something and they can teach it to someone else, in their own words, then they have mastered it.  This simple concept is the genesis of what came to be an experiment in what it means to be a student – and a teacher – for BASIS Independent 7th graders.

Keep Reading

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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.

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