Dancing Classrooms

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On Wednesday, November 7, 2018 Peter Gruber International Academy (PGIA) 8th grade students stepped into the limelight during Dancing Classrooms VI culminating event!

Dancing Classrooms started in only two schools in 1994 with Piere Dulaine a professional ball room dancer who as a young person, had moved from Palestine over to Birmingham, England and really struggled with self confidence and self esteem. It was through dancing that allowed him to stand a little taller and gain confidence. When he was older and a young professional, Dulaine wanted to give that back to the young people. Today, Dancing Classrooms is in over 30 locations nationally and internationally. Dancing Classrooms VI has been in the Virgin Islands since 2009 and last year served 1,000 student - 5,000 students have participated in program overall.

Dancing Classrooms VI's culminating event was a demonstration of a lectured lesson. It was the students' 19th lectured lesson - keep in mind four of those were before the hurricanes- and conducted under the direction of Mary Capella, teaching artist.

MYP Interdisciplinary Art and PGIA Visual Art & Art Coordinator, Jana Ferguson has participated with Dancing Classrooms for four years. Eighth grade students use their art period to participate in the Dancing Classrooms VI program.  

Aside from teaching our students ballroom dancing, the program challenges them to get out of their comfort zone, respect one another and respect themselves.  The younger students are excited to enter the program and the older students love to watch and dance along, reminiscing on their own experiences.  It has become a tradition at the PGIA.

8th Grade Hurricane Blogs

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Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy 8th grade students created websites in groups using a free website generator called wix.com to make informative blogs about hurricanes in the Virgin Islands, under the direction of MYP Teacher Jamie Truax. 

"On these sites, the 8th graders shared personal stories, as well as information about past hurricanes. I am so proud of the hard work they put into these in just 4 short weeks. Check them out when you have a few minutes!" says Truax.

Truax explained that at times, the kids struggled emotionally because it brought up feelings that they may have bottled away for a while. They also struggled with some technology aspects, such as everyone in the group seeing the same screen, web layout, things not saving, etc. 

"Some students didn't feel comfortable at all sharing their personal hurricane stories which is why I let them choose between writing their experience with the hurricanes or writing a history of hurricanes in St Thomas. Most students who ended up sharing their experience said it was difficult to reflect back on, but they were eager to share their experience of what happened with others because many people who don't live in the Virgin Islands don't know what we went through." added Truax.

Saskia, Thomas, N'Jheri, and Bianca's site  https://saskiac8.wixsite.com/website

Layla, Rohan, Leah, and Anna's site https://laylar7.wixsite.com/hurricanes/about

Ava Jayne, Tyler, and Maia's site https://avajaynep.wixsite.com/mysite

Helen, Eliza, Aidan, and  Ka'eo's site https://helenr36.wixsite.com/website-1

Amir, Tianna, and Sakari's site https://sakaric.wixsite.com/hurricane-history

Audrianna, Vidhika, and Diego's site https://vidhikak.wixsite.com/hurricaneedu