Exploring What It Means to Be American
I can’t believe how quickly this semester is passing. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. We have been very busy getting to know each other and learning lots of new fun things together in RISE. Academically, we have begun spending lots of time reading together and working on reading comprehension using “thought stems.” Students bring in books to read in class daily.
We have been hard at work brainstorming things we would like to learn, including activities that each student can teach to their classmates. Our biggest focus at the moment is the Fall RISE Showcase. Students wrote their own RISE song in groups and then combined them to make one RISE song which we will perform at our showcase. Students are currently in the process of voting on what activities they would like to show their parents and teachers.
We’ve had an abundance of spectacular enhancement activities in our second half of class. The students have engaged in weeklong arts workshops on painting, fashion design, yoga, modern dance, photography and ballet. I think the most memorable experiences so far have been our special days when we go on field trips together. The students took a field trip to Vanderbilt University to see their artwork on display. They created paintings which represented how they felt about immigration and to send a message about how Americans should feel about immigrants and refugees. The students created beautiful artwork with representations of unity between all nations. This project came full circle when the students got to visit Frist Art Museum and have a personal tour to see the work of Norman Rockwell and another exhibit called “30 Americans”, thus getting to see other artist’s ideas of what it means to be American.
One of my favorite days this semester was when we had our International Food Day. Students brought food from their culture to share with the class which was really fun because we have students from 5 different countries. We all got to eat a big family meal together and learn to appreciate foods from all around the world.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of this semester, and this year, has in store!