HundrED Planting Seeds
It all started with a small conversation during the HundrED summit in November 2019. HundrED Ambassador Lindsay Pinchbeck from Sweet Tree in Hope, Maine, USA quickly connected with HundrED Innovators Lissette and Alejandro Rojas from Trix and Trax in Venezuela. When they realized that they both engaged learners in the arts, the conversation quickly went to questions like, “how can we connect Trix and Trax with our learners at Sweetland School?” Ideas simmered and the three promised to stay in touch after returning to their individual countries.
As we know, the pandemic came along early in the spring of 2020, and education was tipped upside down. All kinds of changes were occurring, opportunities popping up. Sweetland School found themselves searching for a Spanish teacher. HundrED Ambassador Argy Nestor, who serves as the director of Sweetland Middle School, and Lindsay discussed the idea of reaching out to Lissette about providing the Spanish program through the Trix and Trax program. Lissette and Alejandro were very interested and quickly the planning was underway. Fleshing out the idea happened on zoom and in a google document, and Lissette adapted the Trix and Trax program to meet the needs of a long-distance program.
Trix and Trax
Trix and Trax is a peer-to-peer learning method that helps students identify their talent through a unique fun experience that involves playing different roles, collaborating in teams, presenting performances, and developing projects. Using the Trix and Trax method students teach each other what they're good at and what they're passionate about. The students present their talent in creative performances that are supported and encouraged by other students who play rotating roles that include the cameraman, director, sound, host, reporter, and judges. Playing roles lead participants to pay more attention and results in improvements across multiple dimensions such as:
- Attitudes including expanding their desire to dream beyond the current context
- Skills including digital literacy
- Values such as originality, happiness, transparency, empathy, and persistence
- Knowledge such as the in-and-outs involved in the development of each individual talent.
The mission of Sweetland School is to encourage confident, resilient, and creative individuals. Honoring multiple intelligences, mentors engage students through arts integration and thematic, project-based opportunities while balancing direct instruction. Sweetland School inspires compassionate stewards in our world, building empathy through the arts, outdoor engagement, free and guided play, and community connections. Sweetland looks for opportunities, locally and globally, in the arts for our learners.
Classes and Outcomes
Lissette met with learners weekly for 9-weeks providing opportunities for them to grow their confidence and learn Spanish. Focusing on the learners’ talents is at the heart of the program to help them celebrate their individualism. The benefits were enormous and a fun challenge for both learners and teachers. At the culmination of the 9 weeks, each Sweetland Middle School learner presented their ‘talents’ using Spanish and English. We were all impressed with what each of them shared. They were each STARS!
Highlights of the Presentations
*Names have been changed to respect the privacy of students*
- Edith shared her two loves: a video of her horseback riding and a performance in real-time of herself playing the violin.
- Craig inspired everyone with his saxophone performance and his passion for nature.
- Otis loves playing the violin and performed in a Mandalorian costume that he created.
- Neville shared his passion for mountain biking with a film he made (with a head-mounted camera) of building a trail and riding through the woods.
- Rhonda loves to write, especially poetry; she inspired while reading her own poetry.
- Patricia is an amazing dancer and has a special talent for languages. She shared a video of dancing on the beach.
- Dareen loves complicated video games and aspires to be a game designer.
- Anne loves cats, writing, and books. She shared all three with a slide show.
- Alex is a wonderful artist who shared drawings. He imagines writing a book with a character he has developed.
- Harry shared his talent for programming a gravity simulator.
- Noel loves outside projects. He shared a video of him operating a very large tractor to build a stone bench.
It was a joy and a wonderful professional opportunity for both Lissette and Argy to learn from each other, bring the two programs together, and realize the importance of flexibility. Most importantly it was very valuable to focus on the Sweetland learners through a different but similar lens - the arts at the center of ideas and learning.
Even with the well-developed Trix and Trax program, it took extensive planning to adapt the program to fit the learners' needs and contend with the distance between Venezuela and the US.
Lissette included another adult teacher Moraima and a middle schooler, Natahlia, from Venezuela. Natahlia was especially inspirational while modeling parts of the Trix and Trax program and taking us on a tour of their beautiful country through pictures and stories. An added bonus was that Natahlia had a chance to practice her English as well. We encourage others to explore ways to connect with HundrED programs around the world. Scalable takes on a different meaning when we go beyond our immediate local community.
Please visit our websites to learn more about each program. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.
- Lissette Rojas, Trix and Trax: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Argy Nestor, Sweetland School: email@example.com