student working on a laptop

EMS 7th Graders Reflect

Friday, February 16, 2018

Last month Meghan Sebens 7th grade Language Arts class looked inward through a new initiative asking the students to explore their learning differences. The students were asked to study the science of dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities, write an essay about related experiences, and produce a project illustrating something concrete or abstract about the disability. 

Ms. Sebens says, "I was impressed by how invested the students were with this unit. They were particularly interested in learning about the neurobiology of dyslexia." A common school of thought is that people with dyslexia are left brained meaning that they are imaginative, creative, and intuitive. Right sided people tend to be logical and stronger with reading and writing. These two hemispheres are connected by the corpus collosum, often called the brain's superhighway. People with dyslexia transfer information from the right to the left side of the brain by way of the corpus collosum explaining why people with dyslexia often process more slowly and with more effort.

Students also met with Landmark High School's Student Advocates, a group of seniors who present at local schools and colleges and share first-hand stories about having a learning disability. A common refrain among all of the students was how frustrating and belittling their prior school experiences were and how coming to Landmark made them realize their full potential and boost their confidence. 

The unit culminated in an oral presentation of their essay and sharing their project with fellow classmates and invited guests. Rob Kahn, Head of the Elementary•Middle School said, "these were some of the best presentations I have ever heard delivered on our campus. I feel like I could sit here all day and listen to more of what you learned." Projects included three-dimensional models of the brain, videos, illustrations, and even a poem.

Beautiful Mind
By Lilly Coble '23

There is nothing worse than sitting in the back of a crowded classroom

Not knowing what is going on

Made to feel like I was in last place of some imaginary race

Like those cartoon characters trying to run and catch up but my feet weren’t moving

The 60 seconds that they allow in a minute were moving too fast for me

Everyone else around me was learning

While I was playing catch up on the stopwatch

There was always a challenge I had to face

My brain felt fuzzy with bees in my ears

Not knowing how to count in order

Not able to do math in my head

Spelling phonetically

Trying so hard to understand the words on the page

Reading out loud feels like a broken white noise machine is playing all of its sounds that it has at once and I can’t focus

As I gnaw on my cheeks as if the words on the page are buried beneath my gums

Scared to say something wrong so the only thing behind my words is insecurity

I smile, grin away the pain, I live with it

I learn how to work with it