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DCSD Students Are the Global Future

DCSD Students Are the Global Future!

Cimarron Middle School bilingual students partner with Clear Sky Elementary Students


When the first and first/second grade combination teachers at Clear Sky Elementary began a project with students to explore what it means to be a member of a community, and the rights, roles and responsibilities involved in citizenship, they needed an authentic audience for their projects.  Who better to invite than students with a global perspective?  Cimarron Middle School’s English Learners have been working on using effective communication to build community, and welcomed the invitation to act as “cultural experts” by listening and giving feedback to first and second grade students as they presented their cultural symbols projects.  


“ When I was in first grade I would have felt so nervous presenting to middle schoolers,” said 7th grade student Nikki Bernuy Herquinigo, “but I knew I could encourage them by smiling and talking in a kind way (when giving feedback).”  Priscilla Sanchez has been thinking about effective communication in her advanced English elective course, “I think we built a sense of community when we played a “get to know you” game.  Smiling, body language, eye contact and high fives were other things we did that made the kids feel less nervous when they gave their presentations to us.”


Clear Sky Elementary, in Castle Rock, is a school that implements Project Based Learning.  This is an innovative teaching and learning strategy that gives students real world problems to solve and helps them work through the process using communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Maria Morgan, a first/second grade teacher, has experienced first hand the benefits of PBL.  “Project Based Learning has sparked creativity in my teaching again.  The authenticity of the end result grabs my students’ attention from the first day.  They feel so connected to the project when they have a real audience to present what they have learned.  They were thrilled (and nervous) to “teach” the global students of Cimarron about their American symbols and learn about other important cultural symbols from around the world, as presented by Cimarron students.”   


Cimarron Middle School in Parker strives to seek connections outside the school community and give students authentic experiences that show the impact of their learning.  English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, Sarah Hasler reflects, “Our teachers partner with students as they navigate the many ways they can impact society.  We really strive to empower our students as members of a global community through every content area at Cimarron Middle School.”


“In Douglas County, ESL is so much more than teaching English. It also involves learning from students and their families. Our bilingual students have connections with people from all over the world, and they are truly leaders when it comes to perspective, cultural awareness, and insight about how to make a greater impact on our world.  Thanks to technology; reading, writing, speaking and listening can be done in thousands of different formats, but face to face communication is always special.  This field work with the students of Clear Sky was certainly impactful for our students.  It allowed them to share their expertise through a leadership experience.” 


April 30, 2014 | By cmlevesque | Category: English Language Development

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glowing purple lights hover over trays of seedlings in a dark room

It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.