At the beginning of the year, team members from last year– Bradley, Alex, Liran, Max and Isabella– met to ensure that everything was ready for the arrival of the new members. This involved reorganizing the team without our mentors who graduated and refreshing our memory of the curriculum. Meanwhile, Mrs. Brooks focused on recruiting new students to join the team.
On October 22nd, Jared, Mariel and Marissa, all juniors, joined the team and attended their first meeting! The new team immediately began testing out the curriculum written by last year’s team members who are lead teachers this year. Each new member was paired with a leader as they go through the entire curriculum step-by-step together in order to teach the new members about the invention and to iron out any final wrinkles in the process.
We have been busily fine-tuning the instructions and honing our teaching skills. Team members give feedback throughout the process, and each week the teachers are getting better and better. One of the most important pieces of advice our teachers received was to explain the process thoroughly while being extremely comfortable with the material. Anything that could be improved about either the instructions or the curriculum is reported at the end of the meeting, and the necessary edits are made. We have found that the times allotted for each week may need some adjustments. As we go along, we continue to come up with different approaches to teaching the curriculum. Some of our teachers have their students read the instructions aloud before they begin to build anything.
This time to prepare is extremely valuable: it gives us practice, it allows the new team to get to know each other, and most importantly, it allows us to provide the best possible experience to Citizen Schools in the spring.