Students explored, documented, and shared their understanding of an issue or opportunity of personal and global significance as part of Exhbition. 

Fourth and Fifth Grade Students Initiate Their Own Learning of Real-World Problems and Explore Solutions via Exhibition
 
Last week, our 4th and 5th graders completed their Exhibition unit. This six-week study is a collaborative, student-initiated process for students to explore, document, and share their understanding of an issue or opportunity of personal and global significance. 
 
"Exhibition is an exciting time of learning and taking action that comes as older elementary students begin to move from a self-centered view to a world view," said Kate McElvaney, Director of Educational Advancement. "Students design their unit of inquiry as they examine a real-world problem, work with other students and teachers to explore solutions and ways to take action, and show what they have learned."
 
Exhibition is the culminating, collaborative learning experience of the IB Primary Years Programme.
Throughout Exhibition, students demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their learning as they plan, present, and assess their findings. It's the culminating, collaborative experience in the final year of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme for Lower Years students.
 
 
Exploring Sustainable Development
High Meadows began participating in Exhibition in 2007. The unit provides students the opportunity to:
  • Learn about a real-world problem and work with others toward solutions
  • Exhibit themselves as learners, embodying all the attributes of the Learner Profile
  • Demonstrate their ability to create their own learning experiences
  • Apply the transdisciplinary skills they have acquired to a new collaborative learning experience
    Students investigated 17 goals that the United Nations adopted in 2015. 
This year, the students investigated the Sustainable Development G o als adopted by the United Nations. In 2015, all members of the UN adopted 17 goals which provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet for now and into the future.  The students explored six broad topics within the goals:
  • Food, Hunger, and Sustainability - Researched a variety of topics including GMOs/food additives, food waste at restaurants and stores and how local non-profits are helping meet the food needs of people in our community.
  • Peace and Justice - Explored how to find peace and justice through creating sustainable systems to improve gender equality, LGBTQ equality, planet protection, and water filtration.
  • Infrastructure and Systems to Create Sustainable Communities - Learned about sustainable hydro systems that provide clean water and affordable energy. 
  • Why Not Women - Explored how to build bridges and level the playing field in tackling gender equality.
  • Climate Change - Learned about climate change and sustainability and shared their experience via a Ted-style talk, simulation, diorama, interactive game, 3-D model, and presentations.
  • Deforestation - Researched how deforestation impacts climate change, endangered species, and desertification and shared information about prescribed fires and other ways people can take action to protect forests.
Students Share Their Learnings
Exhibition gives students the chance to present their learnings to others.
Fourth grader Reese J. studied plastic pollution. "I learned that plastic pollution has been going on for more than 69 years," she said. "And, I learned that one million species can go extinct from pollution. My project went really well because every website I looked at had information about pollution."
 
Fifth grader Davis S. explored finding clean and affordable energy by looking at hydroelectric dams. "I learned that there are multiple ways to improve and create new ideas based on an old idea to produce clean and affordable energy."
 
Fifth grader  James S. researched food waste. "I learned that it is a big problem and 1/3 of all food produced is wasted." He shared that he learned during a field trip to a n aquaponics farm that it is fertilized with biowaste from live fish in tanks.

One group of students held a food drive and then packaged summer meals for children.  
Exhibition Essentials

The students work on a variety of skills during Exhibition:

  • Choose a problem to research
  • Reflect each week
  • Meet with mentor weekly
  • Develop clear question to guide their research
  • Research
  • Take notes and cite sources
  • Write concise paragraphs related to their topic
  • Plan and take action for their inquiry/real-world problem
  • Create an engaging presentation
  • Determine what they want to say about what they've learned
  • Take action
  • Practice their presentation
  • Complete final reflections
For the final part of Exhibition, students reflect on what and how they learned as well as how they might continue to take action toward solutions to the problems they identified. The unit is a powerful learning opportunity for students and the school community.

Students Present Year-Long Capstone Research Projects
 

Eighth grade students presented their Capstone projects in late April. Each student investigated a topic of personal interest throughout the year, wrote a paper detailing their research and conclusions, and presented findings to the school community. The topics they chose covered a broad range of subjects including: Memorization in Education, Communication with Dogs, Teenage Cell Phone Use, The Effect of Colors on Learning, The Effects of Sleep on the Body/Mind, LGBTQ+ and the Media, Violence and Video Games, Stress in Undocumented Youth, and Detrimental Effects of Sugar. The Capstone projects bring together the research, writing, advocacy, and presentation skills the students have learned at High Meadows.

Seventh Graders Sweep Georgia Literary Competition
 
In early May, 7th graders Eden K., Blake L., and Olivia R. placed in the Level II tier of the Georgia Letters About Literature competition, part of the Letters About Literature Contest held by the Library of Congress. The students  are in the  6th/7th grade English class  Jean Hunter  teaches. For the contest, students think about a fiction or non-fiction book, poem, or play they have read and about which they have strong feelings. They consider how the author's work changed them and how they are different as a result. Then, they write and send an informative, persuasive letter to the author about how the work impacted them. Panels of judges read the letters and choose winners for each age category. Olivia's first place letter will continue on to the national level of the competition!

Green Matters Task Force Identifies Campus Landscape Design and Nature-scaping Ideas and Plans

This school year, members of the High Meadows faculty and staff representing all areas of campus formed the Green Matters Task Force to work on plans for nature-scaping and enhancing the outdoor education spaces on campus. The group brainstormed ideas and dreams, looked at spaces on campus, identified priorities, outlined guiding principles for campus outdoor spaces, and started drafting landscape design plan options.

Exciting things are on the way! In the next few weeks, the initial large planting of close to 100 native trees and plants will begin near the new barn, basketball court, and parking lot near the community center. These spaces will create a purposeful, usable natural area with shade and spaces for students. Planting of the new tinker shed area has already been completed.
 
Over the summer and fall, the group will complete the campus plans and drawings and get community feedback. Their other campus nature-scaping ideas include: 
  • Creating spaces for memorials
  • Regrowing part of lower meadow to natural habitat with observation decks
  • Planting a Native American village/Cherokee garden
  • Revitalizing old garden beds and/or installing new beds near barn
  • Creating sensory garden/path
  • Creating outdoor creative play spaces including replanting ditch area
  • Adding more interpretive signage

Students, teachers, alumni, and members of our school and camp will help bring these ideas to life.

Eighth Graders Explore Colorado on Final Class Trip


Our 8th graders just returned from a week-long trip exploring Denver and Estes Park, Colorado. The trip lets the students who have been prepared academically and socially travel beyond the High Meadows environment to explore first hand. In Colorado, t hey investigated new biomes and the diversity of plant and animal life characteristic of the mountains and high plains. They also examined geological processes of the region and discussed the role the area has played in U.S. history. They cooked many of their meals and went on a variety of hikes, including one where they where they were lucky enough to spot two moose! 
Mindfulness, Learning Through Inquiry, and Playing in the Dirt: Three Summer Workshops for Educators

Educators, are you looking for summer professional development opportunities? The High Meadows Center for Progressive Learning is offering three engaging workshops this June. Whether it is creating a calm classroom environment through mindfulness practices, improving student engagement and learning through inquiry, or providing rich learning experiences via outdoor learning, the Center can support your growth and connection. Learn more about these exciting workshops
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Limited Openings Available for 2019-2020 Enrollment

Still exploring school options for the 2019-2020 school year?  High Meadows has limited openings in select grade levels for the 2019-2020 school year. Contact our Office of Admission to learn more about space availability and the application process at lnicholson@highmeadows.org or 678-507-1170.
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The High Meadows community celebrates and perpetuates each individual's quest for knowledge and skill, sense of wonder, and connection to the natural environment. We empower each to be a compassionate, responsible, and active global citizen.

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