A Look Inside the 8th Grade Community Project
By Miriam Butterman, MYP Coordinator
For the culminating project of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), 8th Grade students have the to opportunity to transfer the skills they have developed into action in their communities by designing and implementing with a service learning project. These soon-to-be-graduates will readily admit that the pressure to transfer the concepts and global issues that they’ve learned about through their Middle School experience into action, especially as a requirement for graduation, feels high. However, our dynamic 8th Graders live up to their potential with these successful final projects. Their choices, their inspiration, and their passion for making a difference have spoken to something much more intuitive. As they study content from a perspective of global mindedness, the relevance of their topics become personal. The research, action, and reflection tools they have learned in school inspire their voices and their footsteps out in the world.
Our Middle School teachers support the projects by acting as advisors during the service learning process. We work with the 8th Graders during the second semester, and we are all invested in helping our students access the foundations of the IB program, guiding them to practice leadership and action.
This year, we had students working to advocate for issues such as creating empathy for the refugee crisis, building social skills through games, and highlighting the feminist movement in punk rock. Other groups of students worked in direct service by delivering seeds to neighbors to support bee pollination, collecting resources for outreach programs in Haiti, working with animal rescue groups, and tagging fish to help marine biologists access more information. Students also learned how indirect service, or working for an organization and not always directly with their community, can still be a strong way to support many philanthropic agencies. One student built book boxes to bring reading materials to homeless shelters and another built a mobile garden cart to beautify our own ISB classrooms with calming plant life.
This year’s MYP Exhibition was a bustling day of discussion, showcased projects, and most importantly a phenomenal display of ISB’s full-hearted, caring, and knowledgeable 8th Graders. I am proud to know that they will be moving on to high school with confidence in their ability to take action and a desire to do so. Congratulations to ISB’s Class of 2017, and thank you to all of the community members, parents, and staff who continue to support this incredible experience!