Lower School News
One of the ways in which Graded promotes learning outside the classroom is through the annual “Classroom Without Walls” (CWW) experience. All Middle and High School students participate in this week-long class trip. This year’s CWW experience took place from September 24-28.
Through CWW, Graded students engage in experiential learning by partaking in service, action, or investigation. Experiential learning is one of the essential components of developing what educators refer to as the "whole child," and it is one of the major building blocks in helping each Graded student to reach his or her potential. In learning through participating in hands-on projects and working as members of a group to achieve major goals, students internalize learning and develop a stronger sense of responsibility, perseverance, passion, and creativity.
Another one of our CWW goals is to provide authentic, direct exposure to this beautiful country in order to nurture a better understanding and appreciation of Brazilian culture, history, and geography. These experiences also increase respect for the environment and local culture through exposure to unique habitats and the effects of human populations on the land. Furthermore, the CWW experience provides opportunities for contemplation, self-awareness, and self-reliance. Here is one reflection from a grade 11 student based on her experiences during the Portal da Amazônia trip:
"Our CWW study 'in loco' experience was more than simply a trip. It was the opportunity to leave our Graded bubble and explore a bit of what goes on around us. We got to experience Brazil and some of its beautiful complexities in ways that we had never seen before. Our guiding question was: To what extent can we extrapolate Portal da Amazônia's model to 21st century society? Looking at the world through this lens was helpful, because we were able to create a link between what we saw and our lives. It was all truly beautiful: the way in which we were able to connect with the local people, learn about a way of life that is completely different, and be immersed in the Amazonian culture and society. It opened my eyes in so many ways and inspired me. The great thing about travel is that we go beyond the pictures and the tourist spots and truly dive into the place. Portal da Amazônia touched me in this way." (Bianca, grade 11)
As is apparent from this reflection, these CWW experiences deeply impact students, who fondly remember them long after their days at Graded. We are proud of the integral part the Graded CWW program has played in the Graded MS/HS student experience. Once again, our trips to São Luiz do Paraitinga (grade 6), Petar, (grade 7), Cidades Históricas de Minas Gerais (grade 8), Foz do Iguaçu (grade 9), Lençóis Maranhenses (grade 10), Portal da Amazônia (grade 11), and Trancoso (grade 12) provided our students with unique cultural, personal, interpersonal, and environmental experiences that are less frequent during our day-to-day lives at school.
Click here to see more photos of the September 2017 CWW trips.