7th grade social studies students had a cultural exchange conversation with students from Mauritania who are connected with the MindLeaps program.
Their teacher, John Hanson, had a chance to visit and see the MindLeaps program in action during a visit to Rwanda two years ago.
MindLeaps (Mindleaps) is a USA based organization working in developing countries to improve school performance and create positive livelihoods for at-risk youth. MindLeaps runs a unique program, based on a standardized dance methodology, that helps out-of-school and vulnerable youth undergo behavioral transformation, catch up on basic cognitive development and learn work-ready skills. MindLeaps creates educational paths for the most vulnerable children in the world through a creative arts program that is built on data-driven metrics.
Three WFS students, Cereniti Johnson, Naomi Allen, and Arlo Nekoukar, gave presentations about their family backgrounds as well their own hobbies. In addition, other WFS students asked questions and shared examples of their hobbies as well as like and dislikes about aspects of American culture. The students from Mauritania also shared aspects of their culture and families as well as a poem that was read and shared.
Here are some of our students' reflections:
I thought it was interesting to have the zoom call with the students from Mauritania. I liked hearing about their hobbies. I think the students were very similar to us. I think it was nice to have a chance to meet students from so far away. We were able to do this because of technology and I thought that this would not have been possible to do a few decades ago. I wish we had more time to hear about what they are learning at school and also what kinds of things they would like to know more about us? - Zach Altshul
I took away that they learned how to speak like 3 different languages and are fluent in them and I knew what they were saying when they spoke French and asked questions of us. - Logan Jones
I took away that Mauritania and the USA are somehow both extremely different and extremely similar at the same time. I would of liked to learn more about what sports they do there and how it is different from the USA. - Vincent Ramunno III
I learned about all the different cultures. Like in one of the presentations they showed all the different types of weddings from different cultures. Something that also stuck with me was how people in one household speak different languages. That was a very interesting thing that I never really thought about before. I would have liked to know more about the hobbies of the people living in Mauritania. It would have been cool to see what their life is like and what they do. - Piper Roskovensky
I took away that Mauritania has a very different type of culture, weddings, languages, etc. What sticks with me is that one whole family doesn’t share the same language. I would’ve liked to learn more about schooling there and what a daily life is like. - Sami Mayer
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In the recent upper school Chamber Singers concert, students sang “Be the Change” chosen by music teacher Margaret Anne Butterfield who noted in her introduction that the piece adapts texts of Gandhi; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; The Gospel of Matthew; and the composer, Laura Farnell, and employs a phrase in Swahili.
First graders are engaged in their new writing unit about opinion writing. Students brought in collections from home, evaluated each other's collections, and wrote opinion pieces on which item was best.
This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Hobart, Tasmania for a month-long exchange trip. The program included classes at The Friends School (TFS), a fellow Quaker school in Hobart, as well as weekend excursions throughout the island.