An Educator’s Response to the Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas

he shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas this past week was horrific and as educators, what should be the school response?  Our students at Conservatory Prep have friends and relatives who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas and flees for their lives. A few even attended funeral services. While we all mourn the loss and allow our students and teachers to grieve, we ask ourselves “How do  we respond as educators after the grieving counselors have gone?” In our Entrepreneurship and Leadership class, what was discussed was the need for our students to develop strong leadership skills to make a change (namely gun control and mental health laws). Our students focused on their own strengths and then made a statement in front of the camera.  Some of our students were not aware of their strengths nor realized they have qualities to be nourished and needed. Each student has a gift and something special to offer. They need to believe in themselves and taught how they can use their gifts to make a change. Some will write legislation, others will march, some will create swag and others may make a documentary. Each is important and can make a difference.  Our students are bright, creative and the movers and shakers of the next generation. As educators, we need to respond to the horrific shooting at Marjoy Stoneman Douglas by arming our students with leadership qualities to empower them to initiate change in our society.

An example of one of our CPS students making a statement of her own leadership strengths. 

Edluministic Learning for the Creative, Twice-exceptional (2e) Student

twice-exceptionalThe purpose of Edluministic Learning is to spark critical thinking, a passion for knowledge and independent learning through a combined method of arts-integration and problem-based learning to meet the needs of creative, twice-exceptional students. Many of these individuals are designated as gifted or twice-exceptional (2e) and can be considered at-risk. Through extensive observation over 10 years, the author has found that this population of students learns directly opposite the way the traditional lesson plan structure, based upon Bloom’s taxonomy, has been created. Instead of learning facts and a sequence of information leading towards the greater concept, our targeted population has strong conceptional skills and abstract reasoning and very poor concrete, sequential skills, therefore these students are most successful with a program starting with the concepts and working backwards to learn the facts and order.

The Edluministic Learning methodology integrates the performing and visual arts and problem based learning as the core of its teaching strategy. Problem-based learning strategies are used to bring an issue of concern to the students and to have them come to their own conclusions through inductive reasoning. Students are guided to find the research required to master the information and then they are to express their findings not only through a paper, but through artistic expression, which may include performing a short play, a painting, cooking a meal,  producing a song and/or shooting a film. The visual and performing arts are incorporated into each lesson as a way to process the information. Organization is taught through art. Empathy, cooperation and spatial awareness is taught through theater. Timing is explored through music and script writing through film is used to enable the student to express thoughts.

Edluministic Learning involves having students work collaboratively with their peers through theatrical plays, musical interludes, art projects, research assignments and presentations utilizing technology and public speaking skills. Instead of filling out worksheets and taking chapter tests, students are assessed by their classroom participation and completion of projects incorporating writing, technology and the arts allowing mastery of the concept and individual and collective creativity to be unleashed. The methodology begins with an issue to be solved through inductive reasoning. Students are given examples of the issue and it is for the teacher to guide the student to develop observation skills, determine patterns and substantiate a conclusion. The processing segment of the lesson is conducted through the arts (visual and/or performing) rather than using worksheets, memorization of flashcards, etc.  Whether it be determining how and why the pyramids were built in Egypt, the best way to repair a painting in chemistry, writing a script on the current political situation in Guatemala (in Spanish of course), or solutions for managing a budget, students will need to think, collect data, synthesize, analyze and come up with their own solutions through creative, higher-order thinking means and artistic self-expression.

Edluministic Learning meets the academic, creative and emotional needs of the student. The philosophy and methodology can be used to implement most standard curricula and standards.

Edluministic Learning has been developed exclusively at Conservatory Prep Schools

Conservatory Prep Schools

5850 S. Pine Island Road

Davie, Florida 33328

By: Wendy Hirsch Weiner, Ed.D. principal

Using Essential Oils in the Classroom During Flu Season

diffusingHow to Use Essential Oils to Help Fight the Flu

We at Conservatory Prep Schools have been proactive in flu and cold prevention by diffusing therapeutic grade Essential oils. While we cannot prevent everyone from getting ill, we are doing what we can. Aside from washing hands, not using the same utensils and allowing students to have space between them to work, we are diffusing essential oils in the offices and classrooms. Diffused pure essential oils increases oxygen availability, produces negative ions, and are extremely effective in safely eliminating and destroying airborne germs and bacteria. Additionally, the oils increase focus and concentration, reduce stress and anxiety and create a feeling of peace and calm. We use a combination of Doterra and Mellaleuca products. Below are some of our favorites:
*Frankincense *Lemon *Lavender *Lemongrass *Tea Tree *Ylang Ylang * Peppermint

Using therapeutic grade essential oils is only part of the plan to keep our students healthy during flu season. Stress is another factor contributing to a lowered immune system, allowing individuals to be more susceptible to catching a cold or flu. At Conservatory Prep Schools, we aim to lower stress through exercise, proper nutrition, maintaining an environment with soft lighting and teachers  who are committed to providing a low stress environment to our students, making school a safe zone physically,  emotionally and academically.

Conservatory Prep Schools is a middle and high school for college-bound gifted, creative students who are not meeting their potential in a traditional school environment. Located near Fort Lauderdale, FL.

By: Wendy Hirsch Weiner, Ed.D. principal

Teaching gifted, creative learners through the arts and problem based learning.