Previously, I began discussing Habits of Success — one of the underlying principles that drive Summit Learning. These habits go well beyond content knowledge, high scores and A’s on a report card. These key habits are the underpinnings of long-term school and career success. As educators, we always need to be mindful of these habits and create opportunities for our students to continuously practice them in different contexts. Self-Management and Perseverance, Social Awareness and Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making Skills and Responsible Behavior, Learning Strategies and Academic Behavior, and Positive Mindset are transferable to every discipline and applicable at all grade levels. Summit effectively translates these habits into a ‘science’ of learning, which has a significant impact on the design of schools and classrooms. To learn more about the ‘science’ behind Summit, check out this article from their website.
As we close in on the final few weeks of school, it is quite clear that Summit has helped create a new culture for student learning. The students that came into my classroom at the beginning of the year have changed — they have transformed into researchers, explorers, coaches and self-motivated individuals. More important than just learning content, the middle school students have really evolved as critical thinkers and independent learners. Students have a better understanding of how they learn best and know what steps need to be taken to reach a particular goal. They make good decisions about what resources to use during project time and are more focused and self-guided during personalized learning time. They are also more adept at utilizing different learning strategies to extend their knowledge and deepen their understanding. Perhaps the most important change is that students recognize learning is an ongoing process, it requires time, effort, patience, practice and perseverance. Students are much more thoughtful about their learning and are spending more time ‘digesting’ new information and internalizing it. Over the course of the year, the students’ approach to learning has truly undergone a metamorphosis.
In addition to a newfound approach to learning, I also think that Summit has helped change students’ mindset about learning. They enjoy coming to class each day and look forward to the different projects and activities that accompany the various units. They like collaborating with their peers and take great joy in sharing their presentations with their classmates. Students are motivated to pass their content assessments and have started to develop a growth mindset. Through Summit, the students have been able to grow academically, socially and emotionally.
The fifth and sixth grade students have certainly learned a lot this year. They explored the 13 colonies and traveled the ‘Road to Independence’, they investigated the matter mystery and analyzed broken ecosystems. They problem solved with percents, figured with fractions and solved for surface area. While these are all meaningful and important concepts, the things that seem to ‘stick’ with the students are their habits of success. The Summit Learning Platform embodies these habits of success, which have transformed our middle school students into lifelong learners.