On Monday, November 23, Shorewood Intermediate School seventh graders traveled around the world during the World Festival of Cultures, a project that they had spent over a month preparing for – researching food, art, demographics and social issues in their chosen countries and showcasing their work through a wide array of mediums.
“I think they gain their first exposure to a research project that is much more in-depth,” said Sarah Kopplin, SIS social studies teacher and World Festival of Cultures coordinator. “I think … they really get excited about having personal control over their work. They get to choose their country they want to study, they choose the topic that they want to learn about, and they also get to choose how they want to present what they have learned.”
Kopplin also believes that this project does not just benefit the students’ ability to conduct research projects, but also benefit the student’s knowledge of the world around them.
“I … think that they get a lot of about their country and they start to learn about places in depth, and a lot of kids get really excited and think about maybe visiting that place someday,” Kopplin said, and students agree.
“It really enlightens you about what’s going on in the world, and all about the culture in other places, and it’s very inspiring to do other things about how other people’s struggles are affecting them and it’s a really great experience,” said Clare Wisotzkey, seventh grader.
One aspect of the World Festival of Cultures that stands out is that students have full control over their project and work completely independently. The students come up with all the ideas and make the physical project completely on their own.
“Another thing that I think they also get is for the first time they have to be in charge of their own learning. You know they have to take that personal responsibility which I think is something that you know they’re ready for at this middle school age,” Kopplin said.
by Clayton Holbrook