LEAP Jr, or what our fearless LEAP Leader Pak Noan likes to call Pirate Learning! In this project based, experiential learning program, we bring together a crew of students for an intensive learning experience that covers that span of 6 weeks. In this program students dive into a project of their choosing (selected from project pitches from the community – think Shark Tank), and take that (or sometimes those) project(s) from concept to completion (hopefully). As a group, we create a plan for how we will spend our 16 hours each week, take on different roles to meet the needs of the project and learn alongside seasoned professionals.
Our student pirate crew is multi-aged (including students from gr.6-8), multi-talented, and multi-faceted. The teacher pirates are also learners here, so often they are modelling the act of learning rather than sharing knowledge. Grades are not a priority or even a focus in this program, extensive real time feedback throughout the project process is how we help students, I mean pirates, meet success. Along with taking on an active “hands-on” role in the project itself, each student is also required to complete three multimedia assignments over the course of the six week block. The pirates choose from writing a blog post for the LEAP Academy Medium website, drafting a script for, recording, and publishing a podcast episode, capturing photos and curating them for a photo journal, or a creating a Vlog episode.
Since launching the pilot program of LEAP Jr. in December of 2018, I have had the opportunity to work with two of the three LEAP Jr. cohorts. As a teacher pirate on pilot program, I worked and learned with twelve middle school students to create a Google Expedition to allow students around the world to take a VR field trip to Green School for an afternoon. In LEAP Jr. 2.0, I worked and learned with a different group of twelve students to make a geometric bamboo “Introvert Tree House” – or a tree house for one.