Seventh graders in Bala Cynwyd Middle School's Communique program recently participated in the 22nd Annual Poetry Café as students spent the last few weeks reading, writing, revising and publishing poems on a range of topics. As a culminating activity, students chose one of their favorite polished pieces to recite in front of classmates, family and friends performed in the beatnik style of the 1960's. The young poets learned that it is not enough to simply memorize their work but to deliver their recitations with appropriate pacing, clarity and expression while maintaining their presence and composure in front of a large group - and each student performed exceptionally well!
The Communiqué program teaches the same curriculum as found on all seventh grade teams but utilizes a block of time to integrate language arts, social studies, science, health, art and music into the theme of communication. Communiqué provides students with hands-on experiences that emphasize critical thinking, using a variety of teaching modes to stimulate all students' learning styles. Project-based and content-driven videography, publishing, advertising, journalism, technology and research are integrated into the program. Students leave the Communiqué classrooms (and may integrate with the other seventh grade teams) for math, foreign language, technology education, band, chorus, and orchestra instruction.
Students in the Communiqué program experience a rigorous, challenging curriculum with the benefits of flexible blocks of time, a small team with fewer teachers, connectedness to curriculum and classmates, and project-based learning with emphasis on critical thinking, group work, and personal management.