Written by Matthew Manley, Humanities Teacher, Asia Pacific International School, Hawaii
At APIS Hawaii, everyone seems to be excited about Wednesdays.
“I really look forward to Wednesdays because I get to do my own thing,” said Soleil Worrell
“Wednesdays are my favorite,” added Chris Stapleton (ELA and social studies teacher).
What’s so great about hump day?
APIS Hawaii has created Lifelong Learning Time (LLT), a weekly time in which students and teachers partner to pursue projects that pique their interest and challenge them to learn something completely new. LLT began in the fall, when APIS Hawaii decided to make a commitment to a special type of learning that would take students outside the boundaries of the classroom.
“We always talk as teachers about how education should be lifelong, and classroom education does not always demonstrate this type of learning,” said Mr. Stapleton. “In LLT, you get to really take control of your own learning.”
The LLT period, which meets weekly for 150 minutes, provides a wide-open time for a huge variety of projects. Current LLT pursuits include app design, building shoe racks,
trailblazing, vegetable farming, and designing a campus zip line.
Experience in a certain area is not a prerequisite for choosing an LLT project. Never made home- made ravioli? No problem – Hannah Todd (Grade 6) practiced Italian cuisine, then made a feast for the whole school. Soleil used one six-week session in the fall to become CPR/First Aid certified alongside Shannon Todd (school nurse).
“There’s a lot more choice, and on your [own] path at your [own] speed,” Ms. Todd said of LLT.
There are only a few simple requirements for an LLT project: The project cannot relate to some- thing studied in class, it must sustain a student’s interest for six weeks, and the student must be able to show and explain their learning at the end of that time.
At the end of the six-week period, students and staff share their learning at a celebration with all students, parents, and staff. Last semester, John Kim (Grade 8) shared the film he directed, filmed, and edited with Andy Peeler (music teacher).
“It’s not like the answer was always right there, you’ve got to search for it,” John said. “We got close and learned together.”