Week Two in Review

We're halfway through our summer together--unbelievable!

The boys are working hard in the classroom, and covering a great deal of ground... in this post, though, the focus is on some of the fun we had this week! The highlight reel includes our second field trip, and an afternoon of Adventures in Financial Literacy (no, seriously--the boys had a blast!).

Field Trip the Second

This week, our journey off-campus took us down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor... from there, though, we got off the beaten track: instead of the usual 'aquarium-and-science-center' fare, the boys spent half of their day out on the water with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, learning about water quality... as well as how far an eel can jump out of a bucket:

The other half of the day was spent on a different kind of ship: the venerable US Coast Guard Cutter Taney. The folks from Historic Ships gave the boys a backstage, hands-on tour of the ship from stem to stern (and up to the bridge); the boys also tried their hand at a simulated damage control situation, and they learned about buoyancy by competing with each other to see whose aluminum-foil boat could hold the most weight:

Money is Fun(ny)

On Thursday afternoon, the awesome team from Ortus Academy brought their roadshow to us: for the full afternoon, the boys ran themselves ragged trying to earn the most (play) money & manage it well... and then, in the postgame session, they came to realize how much they knew--and how much more they didn't know--about personal finances. They. Had. A. Blast.

...coming up next week: Monday brings Prep@Collegiate's first Expedition. Stay tuned!


Guest Post: Math Faculty Akeish Forsythe

Long Live Gaming

Prep@Collegiate Summer Academy was the perfect opportunity for me to get a better grasp of gamifying lessons and content in the math classrooms by using two distinct strategies and methods and marrying them as one: Class Craft and Judo Math. Because Middle school lends itself to this model, we have successfully done this in two ways: character training and personalized learning goals. In the beginning, students were given avatars through Class Craft and online gamification program that allows teachers to award experience points and powers for great behavior and action while taking away health points and assigning consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Their life has become the video game and everything they do impacts their virtual character as well as their real-life character. FortNite the game has made this the perfect time to implement because kids live, sleep, and breathe virtual reality.  It is such an awesome opportunity to use that world to help keep track of the real long-lasting behaviors that determine future success. 


In addition, the Judo Math system has been incorporated in the Class Craft world through the Quest option. Judo Math separates the curriculum into a set of achievable learning targets and objectives grouped by color or belts. Each belt may have 2-6 objectives so that when the student masters them all, they move on to the successive belt until they reach black belt or green belt. Each belt group comes with a bracelet; the goal is to get all 5 by the end of the unit. I have found that it is better for students to see their progression sooner than later, therefore stretching all 5 belts over the school year is not advisable. It is best to reset belts at the end of a quarter or semester. Within Classcraft, the teacher has the option to set a Quest in a make-believe world where the first task is a video with an embedded quiz or assessment – Edpuzzle or LearnZillion is best for this. If students show that they understand they can go to the next town or mission; if not, they can go in a different direction to help reinforcement the correct learning and then catch up with those who got it the first time in the next mission. The same goes for practice or independent work when assigned.  Teachers can grade work or assign it so it is graded digitally. Then send students with mastery in one direction to complete a project or final culminating event while students without mastery travel in another direction to practice more. Finally, they then connect with the final event (assessment). The good thing is students only see their path and what they have unlocked, they do not know about the other worlds until they unlock it with mastery, so everyone’s path is different. 


I like to use the 5E approach to learning which exposes students to the new material by making connections to what they already know. Then students learn by engaging in an interactive task or video. Afterwards they explain their understanding by submitting notes or reflection. Next, they practice until they are ready to assess. Each Learning target is given to students in advance and they take the time they need to master and move on.  Each quest is different and unique to the student himself. For every progression they gain points and powers they can use in the classroom.

Who said learning couldn’t be fun!?

--Akeish Forsythe


Ms. Forsythe flying high with the boys at Outward Bound! 

Guest Post: Summer Fellow Luke Mallette

Good morning to all the families at Prep@Collegiate! My name is Luke Mallette, and for those of you who do not know or haven’t met me yet, I am one of the summer fellows this year at Prep@Collegiate. I am the leader of the Amherst Crew, and an assistant to Mr. Amin in the mathematics classroom. Some of your boys may already know me from the end of the year where I assisted with the 7th grade Northbay trip, and I have spent the previous month working alongside the operations team at Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys.

I was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended Whitney M Young Magnet High School where I received an offer to play college lacrosse at the next level. I am now a rising junior at Amherst College, where I am majoring in Economics, and a two-year contributing member of the lacrosse team as a Long Stick Midfielder. This upcoming year, I will also be trying out for and playing football at Amherst at the Wide Receiver position, as I am now confident enough in my time management to attempt being a two-sport athlete at a highly competitive university. In my free time (wherever I can find some), I enjoy working out, drawing, chess, and photography.

I learned about the Prep@Collegiate program through Mr. Jack Pannell, the founder of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, and have had a great experience working with both the boys and the team so far. I’m excited to keep it up and see them again next week. Go Amherst Crew! 


--Luke Mallette


Mr. Luke teaching high finance, lemonade-stand style...


 ...and leading his Crew through a discussion about one of BCSB’s Five Core Virtues.

Wrapping Up Week One...

It’s hard to believe we’re just about 1/4 of the way through our summer together!

The week began with a trip to Outward Bound; then, we brought those insights—experiential lessons about perseverance & challenging ourselves—home to campus...

Tuesday, July 10


We began our first full day in our new home by working together to decide what kind of community and culture we want to share. Boys worked in Crews to take Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys’ Five Core Virtues—Integrity, Wisdom, Courage, Compassion, and Resilience—and turn them into a set of clear, specific examples.


Next, the boys prepared to translate these ideas into different media: one group prepared a skit; another worked out a dance number; a third rapped; the fourth put their thoughts in pictures; and the last—‘TwitterFingers’—drafted a series of tweets and replies, playing out a mock online debate. After presenting these to each other, the boys reassembled into their crews to bring it all together into the elements of rubric: an enumerated set of shared norms and expectations for behavior.

If some of this sounds familiar, it’s because we did something similar last year... with some key differences: this year, the gents are conducting daily assessments—of each other. Each boy was partnered with a classmate; every day, he’ll fill out this sheet:

At the end of the week, the partners will share their evaluations with each other; they’ll ask each other questions to better understand their peers’ assessments of them, and then they’ll gather with their Crew to reflect on the experience. Drawing on these insights, they’ll set goals for themselves—making commitments to challenge themselves to grow in the week ahead.

The boys started getting to know their teachers on the Outward Bound course on Monday; Tuesday brought their first (brief) encounter in the classroom, as the gents received their class assignments & began mapping the academic course ahead...

...and after lunch in the campus Dining Hall—where we taught the University the danger of an ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ policy—the Crews dove into the first of many rounds of fierce competition: a scavenger hunt, followed by Capture the Flag!

Wednesday, July 11

Our first full day of classes!

In afternoon co-curriculars, the folks from OpenWorks introduced some of the boys to the rudiments of computer-aided design and 3D printing—by the end of the summer, they’ll have designed and printed their own set of chess pieces—and Young Audiences’ Ras Tre offered the first in a series of lessons in photography and video production:

Thursday, July 12

Day two of classes, and the gents were finding their bearings; the afternoon brought another round of Crew-on-Crew competition—in the gym, and on the field:

The end of our first week brings our first round of one-on-one meetings between boys and their teachers, in which the gents will work to set their own Learning Targets for the weeks ahead...

...more on all of this—and much more—next week!

Prep@Collegiate 2018 :: The Ship is Underway!

We're back--and we've grown!

All of the anticipation and planning have led to this: our second year of top-notch, intensive summer enrichment programming for highly-motivated middle school boys. We have a stellar faculty & staff; rich co-curriculars & exciting field trips; and Baltimore's best & brightest students (50% more students than in our inaugural year, in fact!).

Sunday, July 7

...brought our 2018 Opening Ceremonies--families met the team; our parent coordinators led an ice-breaker:


..before we moved on to a delicious Notre Dame University dinner, followed by a tour of the classrooms. Boys went with their Crew Leaders, while parents had the chance to speak with faculty about the summer ahead. At the end of the evening, the boys rejoined their families as newly-minted Prep@Collegiate 2018 Scholars!


Monday, July 8

...found us at the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School, for a(nother) extraordinary day of experiential learning and team-building. Every single boy challenged himself--and exceeded his own expectations. In the process, we laid the foundation for the educational philosophy that guides our approach to work in--and outside--the classroom.

Of course, we also had a blast. The pictures speak for themselves:

Next Up:

Working together to shape the kind of community we want to share--and beginning our work in the classroom...

...oh, and: a scavenger hunt.

Stay tuned!