The globally recognized Startup Weekend hosted it’s first-ever Startup Weekend EDU (SWEDU) Teens Track in NYC January 31-February 2. The goal of SWEDU Teens Track was to engage high school students in a hands-on startup experience and build their knowledge of entrepreneurship through live pitches, design sessions, mentor hours, and collaboration with like-minded students. The focus of the weekend was on ideas related to improving education.
What makes me happy to be a part of this school is that regardless of the fact that 3 of them are failing the class they work harder and harder every day they enter class... And it definitely has to do with the way our mini lessons highlight their success. It helps with their intrinsic motivation. It makes me sooo happy to see them want to be known for being smart.....
Last Thursday I gave a mini lesson.... Where they asked how much work I put into my mini lessons... they said it looks really nice... And I said I do it for them.... and they clapped.
Point blank I'm happy to be a part of our team... I feel super lucky... You were the first school to reach out to me and the only school I interviewed with... And I knew it was for me immediately... The other two fellows I know that you interviewed told me they thought the school was the perfect school for me..
And it is :-)
Thank you for listening to my share,
A couple of weeks ago, class 9D had a substitute teacher. When I walked in, they weren’t exactly misbehaving. Some kids were writing. But a lot of kids were talking or relaxing.
We needed to talk. I invited them to lunch and ordered a packed lunch for the classroom.
When I walked in to lunch, I discovered two problems:
1. One, they were mad. “Ms. Nariman, why do we have to eat sandwiches? We want chicken nuggets!”
2. Two, four of their classmates had run out of the room.
Lunch was delivered. Two girls jumped up to hand out apples, and another boy passed out the lunches. I heard a shriek. “Chicken nuggets! This is the best day ever!”
So problem number one was solved.
The second problem, though . . . I brought our staff safety team. “Should we send one of these gentlemen to get the missing students?” I asked.
“No,” replied a student. “It might work better if we get them. They’ll resist the adults.”
Two girls and boy stood up. “We’ll go!” they volunteered, and scurried out.
In the meantime, more problems emerged. “We need ketchup,” said a boy. “I’ll go and get some.” He returned triumphantly with 10 packs of ketchup, as you can see in the picture.
Several girls walked to the board and wrote “Enjoy your meal” in their native language. A few shared their sweet potatoes with me. We were starting to have fun.
And the first group of students returned with their classmates. They were still missing one boy, but everyone agreed it was progress.
What did class 9D prove?
That they could cooperate, take responsibility, and achieve a team goal without help from adults. And that’s the definition of an HSLI class.
9th grade Reading
I visited one of Ms. Dandeneau’s 9th grade reading classes and sat with a group, pictured. Let’s call them students A, B, C, and D. They did a great job breaching and were really metacognitive—they kept glancing at Ms. Dandeneau and making sure she wrote down their best talking points.
I noticed something, though: they translated everything into Spanish for student D.
“Is your classmate learning enough English?” I asked.
“Oh, yes!” said student C. Student B nodded emphatically.
“Yeah, she be breaching a lot,” said student A.
“She be breaching?” I asked. We all laughed at how funny that sounded, then quickly became serious. “I know you’re trying to be promotive,” I continued, “but I wonder if she’s not going to learn English because she always expects you to translate. It might be making her passive.”
The group considered this, and then continued reading.
And guess what: at the end of the next breach, student D added an idea in English!
“What made the difference?” Ms. Dandeneau asked the group.
Student A looked thoughtful. “I was going to translate for her—but then I stopped myself.”
Wow, I said later to Ms. Dandeanau. It takes teachers years to learn how to hold back and not give answers—how incredible that a 9th grader can do that. That’s metacognition.
10th grade Global
We’ll also call these students A, B, C, and D.
This group was also promotive, and did a lot of great breaching, keeping Mr. Hall busy writing. But here’s the thing: students B and C were translating everything for students A and D—who understand a lot of English and have been in this country for at least a year.
“I’m confused,” I said. “I’m wondering why you guys are translating everything when I know students A and D speak a lot of English.”
And then the funny thing happened: Student C immediately translated what I said into Spanish!
We all looked at each other, and started to laugh, realizing she had done it without even thinking. “I think you’re addicted to translating!” I said to student C. Student C laughed, which reminded me of why I love HSLI students: they can laugh at themselves, and have honest conversations with adults.
“I think we should start speaking more English,” said student B, looking around at his group.
“I agree,” said student D, smiling. “Tomorrow I speak more.”
I thanked them and Mr. Hall for being so honest and open.
So—is translation always promotive? What do you think?