The days at Seven Hills are filled with interdisciplinary, hands-on learning. In a traditional year, that means starting every Friday with Team Teaching and ending it with Exploratories. Once a month these "Experiential Fridays" become River Days where we spend the entire day learning on the James River. For the 2020-21 school year, we've integrated Team Teaching concepts into our cohort model and the students actually engage in more Exploratories than usual.
As an essential part of our Experiential Fridays, we give our students the opportunity to explore their diverse interests through specialized, small-group classes. It’s up to the student to decide if he wants to write his own zombie apocolypse screenplay, plant heirloom tomatoes in the Phoenix Garden, or run stock market simulations. Every year we offer upwards of 40 Exploratories.
Students in Introduction to Guitar studied the fundamentals of the instrument and learned to play a number of songs.
Team Teaching is where our signature hands-on, experiential approach is combined with interdisciplinary practice to create the optimal classroom experience. Small groups of teachers bring their different areas of expertise together to develop courses around topics that you won’t see in other middle schools. These thematically-centered courses are a unique opportunity to examine challenging content through the lens of several academic disciplines. Through this approach, the boys are able to form connections for a more complete and nuanced grasp of the subject matter, while practicing critical thinking and gaining new skills.
Team Teaching was born in 2015 out of the desire of our dedicated faculty to work more closely with each other while better reaching the boys in creative and collaborative ways. Each of the Team Teaching courses is created by the faculty to be taught four times over the course of the school year to each grade level. Teachers are able to vary exercises, assignments, and discussions depending on the grade level. Three to four teachers from different disciplines team together in order to create and teach each course.
As one of our veteran teachers put it, “This is the most alive and engaged I have felt in the classroom in a long time. The energy from the boys and other faculty is palpable.”
Seventh grade students in the RE:Sources, Cycles, and Actions sorted through our trash bins to save recyclables. In doing so, they also calculated how much of our community's waste was being mistakenly thrown away and shared the statistics through a public service campaign on campus.