Learning

The Lab strives to provide highly personalized learning experiences for every member determined by each members particular strengths, needs and interests.

The Lab’s educational model is based on the learning model developed at the Khan Lab School in Mountain View California and concepts developed by Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, in the book One World Classroom.   

The Lab also incorporates other best-practices in personalized learning from across the country and around the globe such as the project-based learning model developed by the Buck Institute and Caulkin’s Reader’s and Writer’s workshops.

A Focus on Building Independent Learning Skills.  The Lab focuses on helping members develop the real-world skills they will need to work independently and self-manage their  learning at each stage in their learning at The Lab. 

Unlike traditional learning models, members are assigned to one of three advisories based on their ability to work independently, rather than by their age or grade level. Educators/advisors work with members in their advisory to develop independent learning skills, and provide the level of support appropriate for their individual learning independence level.

Members start each day in their advisories where they work with their Educator/Advisor to set-learning goals for the day, week, or month to determine the processes they will use to accomplish their learning goals,  and assess their progress towards them.  Goals may be academic, socio-emotional, physical, or a combination of each. The Common Core is used as a starting point for setting academic goals, but then is personalized to each members individual needs. At the end of each day, each child meets with his or her educator  to reflect on his or her progress towards his or her goals that day and plan for the next day.  

Individualized Instruction and Educational “Playlists.” Educators/advisors work with members to design individualized “playlists” for the academic term.  Members and advisors work together to develop a playlist that is specific to their individual needs and their  learning goals for the term.  Playlists include on-line learning resources, books, worksheets, and other resources to support each student in attaining their learning goals for the term.

One World Classroom.  All members, ages 7 through 14, learn and work together in a single One World Classroom.  Older members may help tutor younger members, younger members help hold older student accountable. And educators from each advisory are available to support all students in The Lab’s One World learning community.

Core Classes

Math. The Lab uses the Khan Academy, Compass Learning and other on-line resources for math instruction. These are supplemented by small group instruction, individualized learning packets and other programs such as Brainpop, Study Island and Singapore Math selected based on each child’s individual learning needs.

Reading. The Lab uses a modified version of Caulkin’s Reader’s Workshop, widely recognized as one of the most effective programs in teaching students to engage with literature. Each child follows an individualized protocol as he or she builds skills and passion for reading. Students select up to 4 books each term that they will read and report on to the learning community.

Writing. The Lab uses Caulkin’s Writer’s Workshop as its core program for teaching writing. Students learning writing through learning to be an “editor” and an author.  They learn techniques for organizing their writing, editing and reviewing their work and that of their peers, and ultimately presenting and publishing their written work at The Lab. Over each term, students will create a narrative, informational, and persuasive piece about a topic of personal interest, or linked to their “Studio” project.

Computer science. Computer science and coding are considered core learning competencies at the Lab.  Each student sets learning goals for building their knowledge and skills in computer science.  The Lab uses the Khan Academy’s on-line coding classes  to facilitate students developing skills in coding, animation and other relevant areas. 

Authentic project-based learning.  Students and teachers work together to identify an organizing theme for project-based learning activities each term. This theme then serves as the focus for the afternoon “learning studios” where students work together in groups to study and design solutions to real problems in the local community.   When possible, work taking place during core academic time is also linked to the project.   History, science and social study content is also integrated as appropriate.  Students present their work to the public at the end of each term at a “project exhibition” at the Lab or in a local venue.

Inner-wellness. At the Lab we believe developing social emotional competencies is essential to the well-being of each child, and is an essential aspect of learning.  Students receive training in mindfulness meditation, and participate in learning experiences designed to promote social emotional development and learning.  Students read books such as the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Kids (or Teens), engage in learning activities from the Peacebuilders Social Emotional Learning and Character Lab curricula among others.

Outer-wellness.  Twice a week students participate in “wellness” classes aimed at developing their knowledge of healthy eating and nutrition, and building skills in various physical activities such as soccer, volleyball, basketball and dance.

Art.  Art is an important part of our curriculum at the Lab.  Twice a week students have the opportunity to participate in formal art classes aimed at developing a love for the arts, and developing  skills in drawing and other visual art forms that can also be incorporated into Learning Studio projects and even coding.  Whenever possible, art is incorporated into learning during other parts of the day and used to help students engage more fully with the topics and concepts they are learning.

Afternoon enrichment classes

Students have the option of participating in a variety of afternoon enrichment classes at the Lab. These classes change each term. Examples of classes include Art and Drawing taught by the former curator for the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Master Quest, and Youth Entrepreneurism, taught by We Labs and local entrepreneurs. Other classes include Improv taught by Kyle Becker of TKTC theater, Yoga, and Spanish. Students attending classes at the Lab can also use this time to continue work on their “Studio” projects.

Please check the calendar for more information as afternoon enrichment class offerings change frequently.