High Interest Courses get a Facelift at OMS

The schedule at OMS was revamped after a year of brainstorming and problem-solving the best way to meet the needs of the students at OMS while maximizing learning and efficiency.  One of the biggest changes this year has to do with our High Interest classes.  Traditionally, these classes were held in unison with intervention time.  This created some obstacles as students that were needed for intervention where not able to participate in high interest programming and made running a classroom difficult for the high interest teachers as students were in and out of their class depending on their intervention needs.

Our solution was to create two separate periods for high interest and intervention time.  In order to make this happen, we shortened both the high interest and intervention periods and made intervention required for all students.  Students that need specific intervention with a teacher receive this, and those students that don’t need specific intervention Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) for those 20 minutes.

As a school, we created some new high interest courses this school year.  We have made it a goal to make these courses focused on problem-solving, critical thinking, and creative thinking skills.  We would like this time, whenever possible, to be focused on student directed learning where students are able to explore and collaborate to find solutions to problems presented to them.  Therefore, along with Art (6-8), Spanish (7-8), and Tech Ed (7), students are participating in Chess/Critical Thinking, Journalism Club, and Scratch (computer coding) in grade 6, Engineering Science Toys and Photography in grade 7, and Genius Hour and Coding in grade 8.

We are excited about these changes as it brings us closer to our mission of getting all students to learn at high levels.  It gives more students the opportunity to participate in courses that are more open-ended and exploratory.  I’ve been impressed with the new courses thus far and the level of ownership students are taking in their own learning!

Sherri Stengel