This summer, our teachers embarked on a professional development adventure throughout downtown Seattle. It was not only an enjoyable experience, but a learning one too! As a school, our teachers push themselves to be the best leaders for their students. This includes taking action from in and outside the classroom. It was an amazing opportunity for them to shift their focus and learn about different strategies they can incorporate into their very own classrooms. In order to become more familiar with the field trip protocol and discover ideas for field trips in Seattle, Renton Prep’s professional development teachers teamed up for the activity. In a previous Renton Prep article, we highlighted the different ways that students and teachers can look at curriculum development as windows and mirrors. During the scavenger hunt, teachers used the same concept to convey their view of “windows and mirrors” in the real world.
Overall, the idea of the scavenger hunt was to team up with a group of teachers and navigate around the city to accomplish a specific goal. Each location had a different purpose. At every stop, the teachers were to take a picture, and answer specific questions about that location or regarding rules in the student handbook. For each photo taken at every location, the groups of teachers earned a certain amount of points. If paid close attention to, there were also opportunities to earn bonus points in some of those locations.
Renton Prep divided each group between new and returning teachers, and their mission was to explore downtown Seattle while becoming familiar with the field trip protocol. Engaging in teamwork, each individual teacher contributed to navigating the group throughout the city. For example, new teachers were given the responsibility of figuring out the bus schedule and transporting the group to various locations. Renton Prep also values teamwork within our students. Through collaboration and participation in school events, our students gain confidence in their ability to share and communicate with others. The value of partnership, trust, empathy, and humility are just a few of the many important aspects that make up our school.
In all, there were four groups of teachers participating in this exciting activity. While on their journey, each group recognized a unique interpretation of the concept of windows and mirrors. Windows allow us to look into someone else’s life while mirrors allow us to see ourselves reflected in an experience. The idea of “windows” gives teachers and students the opportunity to consider another’s point of view and access his or her reality instead of their own. Mirrors give each student or teacher the ability to dive deeper into their core and discover new ways to enhance or recognize their abilities. While in downtown, teachers Emily Chant and Marci Chang lead a workshop on this concept. Each group added how they recognized windows and mirrors during their scavenger hunt.
Group 1 consisted of three teachers: Ms. Chant, Ms. Lee, and Ms. Wright. Throughout Seattle, they made stops at the Seattle Aquarium, Klondike Goldrush, the Great Wheel, and Art Museum. As they made their way around, they came across a drawing workshop. There, they learned how to draw a self-portrait. As a result, drawing themselves allowed them to apply the concept of windows and mirrors by reflecting on their own images and drawing each other.
Group 2 made stops at many popular attractions in Seattle. In this group were Ms. Patino, Dr. Michelle Zimmerman, Mrs. Thompson, and Ms. Turner. Their stops included Pike Place, Chinatown Gate, the Gum Wall, Seattle Aquarium, the Space Needle, MoPop, Pioneer Square, and the Centurylink Stadium Steps. Surprisingly, Ms. Patino crossed paths with an old coworker from New Jersey. This encounter took her down the window of memory lane and allowed her to re-visit old experiences. Another portrayal of windows during the trip was through the group’s view of buskers, or otherwise known as street performers. Through a new window, Mrs. Thompson captured the joy and dedication these performers expressed. As a mirror, this experience reflected her own love of music.
In group 3, Ms. Vrudny, Mr. Nearman, Mrs. Zimmerman, and Ms. Reis saw the theme of windows and mirrors through their selfie-taking. They took selfies at Amazon Sphere, Pike Place Market, Seattle Aquarium, Great Wheel, the Gum Wall, Seattle Art Museum, and Pioneer Square. The group concluded that while it is comfortable to look through the lens of a window, it can be a challenge to look at our reflection and break down what we see. During the scavenger hunt, they learned that selfie-taking involves making adjustments in order to fit into the frame. This applies to education when teachers and students adjust their perspectives (mirror) in order to look through another person’s point of view (window).
At Amazon Sphere, the one-way glass captured Group 4’s attention. Ms. Schuldheisz, Mrs. Chang, and Mrs. Cooper all took a picture outside of the building. Inside, people were able to see a perspective, or window, of the outside world. However, on the outside, the one-way glass acted as a mirror, allowing those on the outside to see a reflection of themselves. This interpretation of windows and mirrors is a clear portrayal of how without necessary adjustments to our point of view, we may only be seeing one-sided. It is a perfect example of what Renton Prep desires to implement in our classrooms: the ability for teachers and students to adjust his or her perspective in order to make connections.
In conclusion, the scavenger hunt adventure was an eye-opening experience for every teacher who participated. Renton Prep strives to inspire, motivate, and influence students to make growth in the same way. So, learning to collaborate and work in teams is important. It helps students to enhance skills they will need in their future careers and relationships. Overall, it is trips like the scavenger hunt that really make a mark and expose new life-changing opportunities. Contact us today to learn more.