On April 17, middle grades students kicked off Minimester, a week of elective courses in which students explore various areas of interests. The goal of Minimester is to expose students to topics and experiences the ordinary schedule doesn’t allow. These elective courses run for half or full days and offer opportunities to use the city as an extension of the classroom.
For the first time, we offered two Minimester courses through the Avenues Global Journeys program. The students who took these courses travelled to Belize and Japan for truly immersive and global experiences. Those students who stayed on campus for the week were able to choose from 27 different course options.
The preparations for Minimester begin in December when members of the Avenues community submit course proposals. Once courses are accepted students attend an assembly where teachers pitch their courses, share the field trips that have been planned, and ultimately get everyone excited for a week where we truly align to our mission to cultivate students who are “confident because they excel in a particular passion.”
The Anti-Tourist’s Guide
“NYC: Oh, The Places We Will Go,” “NYC Short Stories: The Art of Fiction Writing” and “The Anti-Tourist’s Guide” got students out of the building for most of the week. They used the city as inspiration for short stories, pop-up books that encapsulate the New York City experience and a catalog of hidden gems you can find exploring our own backyard.
Boat Building and Design
Other courses inspired students to create, innovate and design. In “The Art of Craft,” students cast beads and other objects in clay and glass and received an introduction to jewelry making. A small children’s pool was installed in one of the art studios as students designed and built their very own sail boats in “Boat Building and Design.” “Build A Rube Goldberg Machine” challenged students to get creative and practical as they constructed wacky contraptions to apply a Band-Aid. Students learned empathy as they interviewed people in Penn Station in order to pitch plans for its redesign in “D4I (Design 4 Impact).”
Build A Rube Goldberg Machine
Students ready to plan for their future signed up for “Future Boot Camp,” a course in which they were given the tools to explore their dreams and make plans to achieve them. Those interested in learning more about specific careers took part in “NYPD Blue” or “Med School 101.”
Med School 101
“Introduction to Chemistry,” “Code a Video Game” and “Overclocked”all offered opportunities for students to continue to explore their STEAM subjects from a different perspective.
“Avenues On Tour” and “All Hands On Deck” helped students give back to the community through service and music.
All Hands On Deck
Minimester is a week of authentic learning experiences for students. It combines a lot of hard work, risk taking, a real sense of community and a lot of fun!