|In tenth grade, students are transitioning to even more independence in their academic lives. They continue to develop their formal skills within the context of meaningful content. They begin to take ownership of their learning by actually doing the work of a discipline instead of just learning about it. Their classroom experience shifts from teacher-driven to student-led inquiry. |
Tenth graders also begin to take on leadership roles within the school community through a variety of activities, such as student government, minimester, X- blocks, and athletic teams. As our long time tenth grade dean likes to remind us, sophomore means “wise fool.” Part of the work of the students and their teachers is to balance the independence and competence the students gained in ninth grade with all that remains for them to achieve in tenth grade and beyond.
The tenth grade year begins with a three day trip to New England, which includes visits to Mystic Seaport and the Boots Mill Museum in Lowell, a walk along the Battlefield Trail to the Old North Bridge, and some quiet contemplation at Walden Pond. The trip is an introduction to many of the historical themes students will explore in tenth grade, as well as an interdisciplinary experience that combines art, literature, and science. In addition, the New England trip continues the community building that started with the ninth grade orientation trip.
Over the course of the tenth grade year, there is an increase in the complexity of students’ work and analysis. For example, successive assignments in English classes require students to marshal critical thinking by analyzing one text, then moving on to compare two texts together, and then finally looking outside of the texts to incorporate the world around them. In math classes, tenth graders work on improving their ability to collaborate through problem-based learning; students discuss and compare their own ideas and solutions with each other in class.
Another example is the tenth grade studio art program, which aims to develop the two halves of a young artist: the ability to build upon a skill set that provides them with a means of expression, and the ability to weave conceptual content into their work. By moving away from solely focusing on formal skills, an artistic voice is allowed to emerge.
Citizenship and critical thinking are especially important in tenth grade. In each of their academic courses, students work on developing a cohesive argument using evidence and analysis. As they start their own X-block classes, plan minimester courses, lead sports teams, and take on other roles of leadership and citizenship, tenth graders start to take ownership in developing the culture and academic life of LREI.