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John F Kennedy Middle School

REDWOOD CITY, CA – Over the course of the school year, Melissa VanderMolen’s 7th grade English Language Arts class has been exploring the theme of what it takes to be great. In addition to reading books and articles about growth mindset, goal setting, and learning styles, she is hoping that her students will develop an interest in taking charge of their own learning. “I hope to empower students to create their own learning opportunities through enhancing their drive and internal motivation for learning,” VanderMolen explains.
As a final project, students are participating in literature circles in which they read and discuss a book that explores the theme of greatness. The students who have chosen to work with The Art of Learning will complete a project that showcases their learning and take-aways from the book. Some groups are working on slide presentations and others are working on creating a poster/bulletin board. All of the groups will present their projects to the class when they are finished. VanderMolen told the JWF that her goal for this project is “that students become more reflective about their own learning and capabilities. I have already witnessed their critical thinking skills progress to the next level while processing this book.”

Here are some reflections from the students midway through their exploration of The Art of Learning:

“What I have learned about the art of learning is that you have to follow your dreams and to never give up and to fight and if there is an obstacle in front of you try to jump it to become something great. The most important thing I have learned is to believe in yourself.” A.P.

“Try new things, learn from your mistakes, learn to get better.” S.O.

“I learned that every art is related in some way and that if you put your mind to it you can do amazing things.“ G.F.

“Winning doesn’t matter, what matters is what effort you put into it.” T.S.

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