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LEAP Week – Learn, Explore, Produce, Apply

The whole process of education should thus be conceived of as the process of learning to think through the solution of real problems.
—John Dewey, 1936

DSC 5052 300x199 LEAP Week – Learn, Explore, Produce, ApplyA hallmark of the Sage experience, LEAP Week is an annual week of special-elective classes called clusters, based on two fundamental characteristics – authentic learning and real-life problems. These elective courses are designed by faculty and experts in the community to provide opportunities for in-depth, highly focused, project-oriented study. Students can select from a variety of exciting courses that emphasize higher-order thinking skills and provide opportunities for creative and productive applications of these skills to real-world situations. The courses are week-long, half-day units, designed for small- to medium-sized groups of students with an emphasis on interdisciplinary study and project-based work. Class composition within the clusters often represents a cross-section of ages and school divisions, depending on the subject.

LEAP Week is based on the Triad Model of learning for gifted students as well as the Schoolwide Enrichment Model designed by educational researcher Joseph Renzulli, who directs The National Research Center on the Gifted & Talented. Courses align with the Multiple Intelligence Theory, and are a vehicle for engaging gifted students. Varied offerings address the diverse abilities and strengths our children possess. Our ultimate goal is to help children develop their interests and talents and understand how they can share their gifts with the world. LEAP – learn, explore, apply, produce – truly embodies this curriculum model.

DSC 5228 300x199 LEAP Week – Learn, Explore, Produce, ApplyLEAP Week allows gifted children to explore an area of interest, talent, or passion in depth, with other like-minded peers. Clusters are organized around major disciplines, interdisciplinary themes, or cross-disciplinary topics. They are built on inquiry and advanced content and methodology, which allows students to secure and then apply new skills related to real-world issues that are personally meaningful. Many clusters have a visiting speaker who is a professional in a related field of study to act as a resource for the students’ inquiry and to model what is possible as a 21st-century real-world problem solver. The challenging learning pursued is grounded in the production of a product, performance, or service for an authentic audience.

All teachers offer a cluster on a topic that they are passionate about and that will be of interest to students. Students are provided with a menu of cluster offerings and indicate three choices that they would find interesting. They are placed in one of their three choices with an effort made to balance the groupings by gender and grade level. Each student in our Kindergarten – 8th Grade participates in two courses that meet every day—one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. At the end of the week, students gather to share highlights of their experiences and present their work to one another at an all-school assembly. These demonstrations take many forms, including performances, presentations, or displays.

Courses in past years have included:

  • Mock Trial
  • Design and Engineering
  • The Future of Things
  • Genetics
  • Computer Animation
  • Tessellations
  • The Principles of Flight
  • Teamwork and Leadership Skills
  • Chocolate Factory Design and Construction
  • Filmmaking
  • Cultural Explorations
  • Socratic Studies
  • Secret Formulas
  • I Object!

If you are interested in teaching a cluster or have any further questions regarding this exciting week at Sage, please contact Manisha Jain at mjain@sageschool.org. Let’s get ready to LEAP – Learn, Explore, Apply, Produce!

“Every child should have the chance to be exceptional without exception.” ~ Dr. Joseph Renzulli