Communication & Life Skills

In addition to preparing each student to meet his or her college and career goals, we believe it is important to be prepared for life outside of academia. A multidisciplinary comm 3 - Copycommunication and life skills curriculum builds social skills and awareness. 
We interweave social instruction, communication training, and practical life skills into our curriculum using hands on learning to develop skills that will be useful for their students during their lives after school. We also work on developing social skills with student interactions during class.

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All students must enroll in at least one Communications class during their time at Aim High. Students may take this course at any time - the course will then be geared towards the student's grade level and skill set. We also provide a middle school Communications class with a curriculum developed to meet the specific needs of our 6th-8th grade students. The middle school curriculum focuses on social interaction and the skills necessary for success in school.

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Below is a sampling of the topics that are covered in our Communications class. Included are descriptions and student outcomes for these units:

College Awareness - Students begin looking at plans for after high school. This includes four year universities, community colleges, and vocational schools. We discuss scholarships and the students talk to different adults about their college experience. Students complete a project in which they look at several schools and collect information - such cost, history, required test scores - for each school. They also research extra-curricular activities, study abroad options, housing cost and options, and majors that interest them.
Resume/Cover Letter/Interviews - In this unit, we introduce the students to employment awareness. Last year we had a local business owner visit and talk about his hiring practices at a pizza parlor. All students look up actual jobs to apply for and create both a resume and cover letter. We then do mock interviews, where students are the interviewer and interviewee. The students' "test" is to be interviewed by Mr. Earls and other staff members.
Know Thyself - Work on understanding our motivations and what we would like to accomplish in both our personal and academic lives. Students create a bucket list. We read a book entitled the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. In this book Randy describes life lessons that he learned throughout his life and career that he would like to pass to his children. Students write a paper in which they reflect on their past life choices and future opportunities. Self-reflection helps students understand themselves better.
Planning and Presentation Skills - Students are given the opportunity to research field trip options in the area. They then present their idea to Mr. Earls (our head of school) and chosen students using a powerpoint that they create. Student presenters prepare answers to practical questions, such as "How much does it cost?" and "How long will it take to get there?" In the end, students actually book the field trips themselves.

Theory of Mind/ Different Perspectives

Students learn to look at the world through the eyes of another person and discover that people look differently at the world based on past experiences. Students create characters based on a picture and then answer questions from those characters' perspectives. This skill helps students in future conflict resolution and increases their ability for abstract thought.

Percentages and Discounts
Students learn to understand the real world application and uses of percentages. The focus is on discounts, a percentage off a product, and tipping a server at a restaurant. 

Students learn the social and health benefits of humor, the skills needed to be funny, and awareness of the social situations in which it is and is not appropriate to make jokes. Students are introduced to a variety of humor styles and examples, learn to create jokes, and deliver jokes to an audience.

Home Maintenance
Students learn a variety of life skills through hands-on experience. Skills introduced include doing laundry, loading the dishwasher, hanging a painting, sewing a button on a shirt, ironing clothes, fixing a leaky/running toilet, unclogging a drain, painting a wall, and changing a light bulb.

Students watch Food, Inc., a documentary that focuses on the problems with the industrialization of food. They complete a taste test between organic and processed foods to determine which tastes they prefer.

Students learn the art of negotiation, how to negotiate and counterbid, and how the best negotiations end in a compromise. As a class the students visit a second hand store where they put their negotiation skills to work in a real life setting.

Social Media
This unit focuses on proper online behavior. Students learn about being safe and posting appropriate information on Facebook and Twitter.  Students create a fake Facebook profile for a fictional character; this project challenges the students' creativity and humor skills.