Weaver SSC Students Experience Blended Learning Through Various Food-Based Projects and Activities

SPOTLIGHT On EXCELLENCE     Issue 22     January 14, 2013

Weaver SSC Students Experience Blended Learning Through Various Food-Based Projects and Activities 

 
What do you get when you mix Journalism and Media, Culinary Arts, and a local farm?  An engaging hands-on learning experience that served as a springboard to project based learning for students at Weaver High School. 
 
On Thursday, October 4th, students from the Student Success Center (SSC) at Weaver High School attended a field trip to Community Farm of Simsbury.  Activities included harvesting kale to donate to the Culinary Arts Academy, making sugar free applesauce, tending to the animals, searching for and collecting macro invertebrates from the local stream, and expressing predictions and observations of the entire day through journaling. 
 
Follow up projects were completed over the next two weeks.  The projects included building an urban indoor garden, creating a digital storybook of the trip, uploading a blog with seasonal themed recipes inspired by the farm visit, and making a bulletin board communicating learned science concepts.
 
Students in the Success Center at Weaver High come from both the Culinary Arts Academy and the Journalism and Media Academy.  They participate in "blended learning" using a rigorous mix of computer coursework, hands-on collaborative projects, and traditional classroom instruction. 
 
On the Tuesday before thanksgiving SSC hosted a Community Luncheon.  Students used the kitchen at the Culinary Arts Academy to prepare a delicious meal including turkey, gravy, roasted potatoes with kale, butternut squash with maple syrup, stuffing, and apple pie. 
 
SSC partner Capitol Workforce Partners worked with Stew Leonard's to have several turkeys donated. Hartford Food System donated the potatoes and squash.  Community Farm of Simsbury donated the kale. 
 
After the dinner, students made final presentations concerning the project based initiatives connected to a field trip to Community Farm of Simsbury back in September including, an indoor garden, online recipe blog, video storybook, and SSC bulletin board. 
 
Mayor Segarra and Karla Cruz (Project Manager for The High School Graduation Initiative) were each in attendance, and shared inspiring stories with the students.  The Mayor spoke of his own struggles in high school in New York, and his move to Hartford.  Yet, two advanced degrees and a successful political career later, he encouraged the students to keep working, and take advantage of all the added resources the school district provides to ensure graduation and success in the future.
 
Lastly, student ate the lettuce and beans grown in the school greenhouse.  Students built garden boxes, planted seeds, and cultivated the crops. 
 
Graduation Specialist Tye Weir cooks turkey with Marquan Devonish
 
Graduation Specialist Colman Long cooks with Ben Woods
 
Mayor Segarra addresses the students
 
Students eat with Mayor Segarra
 
Alicia Hollingsworth, Jessica Beaver, and Shakara Jewell harvest lettuce
 
Alicia Hollingsworth eating salad made with the lettuce she helped harvest

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